State Structure and Political System of Maldives
The Maldives is a republic, the 1998 Constitution is in force. Administratively, the Maldives are divided into 19 island groups – atolls (Alifu, Baa, Dhaalu, Faafu, Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Kaafu, Laamu, Lhaviyani, Mimu, Nunu, Raa, Sinu, Shaviyani, Thaa, Vaavu) and 1 district (Male). The city is the capital of Male. Check equzhou for political system of Maldives.
The form of government is a presidential republic. The highest body of legislative power is the unicameral parliament (People’s Majlis). Of the 50 members, 42 deputies are elected for 5 years, 8 are appointed by the president. Elections are held on a non-partisan basis, all candidates are “independent”. 6% of seats in parliament are held by women. For the first time, a woman was elected to parliament in 1979. In the last (fifteenth) parliamentary elections (1999), 74% of those who had the right to vote took part.
It is possible to form a Special People’s Majlis composed of ministers, members of the People’s Majlis, another 40 elected representatives and 8 persons appointed by the President. He has the right to pass particularly important laws.
The head of state is the President, who, according to the Constitution, is also the head of the executive branch and the head of government. The term of office of the president is 5 years. The president is appointed by parliament and this appointment must be confirmed in a national referendum (must receive at least 51% of the votes). The last presidential elections took place on October 17, 2003. Laws passed by Parliament do not enter into force without ratification by the President. There is a responsibility of the president to the parliament, which can pass a vote of no confidence in him.
The head of the highest legislative body is the Speaker, who presides over the meetings of Parliament. His powers are very limited.
The government (cabinet of ministers) is appointed by the president, and not necessarily from among the members of parliament. The post of prime minister was abolished in 1975. Check homeagerly for democracy and human rights of Maldives.
The highest judicial system is represented by the Supreme Court. The president appoints all judges (at any level) and regulates the activities of the courts, directly or through the Ministry of Justice. He has the right to pardon. Sharia law is recognized in the Maldives.
The right to vote is granted to all citizens who have reached the age of 21.
The first president of the Maldives was Mohammed Amin Didi, who won the election in 1953. He carried out several reforms. Back in the 1940s. as prime minister nationalized the fish export industry. During the year of his tenure as president, he carried out an education reform, contributed to the expansion of women’s rights, which caused discontent among Muslim conservative circles. In 1954 he was killed by a mob during a riot.
Maumoon Abdul Gayoum (born in 1937) worked as a teacher at the institute, was the representative of the Maldives in the UN. Since 1978 he has been invariably elected president. Very popular in the Maldives. In the elections of 1983, 1988 and 1993 he received more than 95% of the vote, 1998 and 2003 – more than 90%. He began a policy of developing the poorer islands and made a special emphasis on the development of tourism. Coup attempts occurred in 1980, 1983 and 1988. In the beginning. 1990s Islamic fundamentalists tried (unsuccessfully) to put pressure on him.
The government appoints the heads of the atolls and the heads of the islands. The Atoll Development Committees (their members are appointed by the head of the atoll) are an advisory body. Island Development Committees are made up of members appointed and elected by the people.
The creation of parties is not prohibited by law, but there are none.
According to international statistics, there were 82 public organizations (2000). Local experts believe that their number has reached 500. Youth and women’s organizations are quite active. Most public organizations operate in Male.
The foreign policy course is aimed at maintaining friendly relations with other countries while traditionally striving to maintain independence from the great powers. Closer relations exist only with Great Britain (as with the former mother country) and Japan (in connection with economic assistance). In 1976, the British naval base on the island of Gan ceased to exist. Since the same year, the Maldives has been a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. Of particular importance in the field of foreign policy are neighboring countries and Muslim states (although the Maldives refrain from any participation in the Middle East processes). Since 1985, the Maldives has been actively involved in the activities of SAARC (two summits in Male). Traditionally warm relations exist with Sri Lanka, which is also the main economic partner. Very close ties began to develop with India after 1988. This year ok. 100 mercenaries (mostly from among the Tamil militants from Sri Lanka), who had ties with the Maldivian opposition (which organized the coup), seized the presidential palace. India immediately responded to the call of M. A. Gayoum for help: 1600 paratroopers were landed in Male (the first part arrived already 15 hours after the start of the coup). The putschists were defeated, and the mercenaries who escaped by sea were captured by the Indian Navy. During the operation, the Indian military personnel did not lose a single person. After the trial of the putschists, Gayoum pardoned the coup participants sentenced to death. Recently, the Maldives has fairly even relations with all countries.
The armed forces do not exist. There is a “Maldives National Security Force” numbering 1,800 people. They are also engaged in police activities and protection of the maritime border. In 2001, defense spending was $34.5 million.
The Maldives have diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR in 1966).