Ibrahim Nasir, Prime Minister under the pre-1968 sultanate, became President and held office from 1968 to 1978. He was succeeded by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was elected President in 1978 and reelected in 1983, 1988, 1993, and 1998.
The president heads the executive branch and appoints the cabinet. Nominated to a 5-year term by a secret ballot of the Majlis (parliament), the president must be confirmed by a national referendum.
The unicameral Majlis is composed of 48 members serving 5-year terms. Two members from each atoll and Male are elected directly by universal suffrage. Eight are appointed by the president.
The Maldivian legal system--derived mainly from traditional Islamic law--is administered by secular officials, a chief justice, and lesser judges on each of the 19 atolls, who are appointed by the president and function under the Ministry of Justice. There also is an attorney general. Each inhabited island within an atoll has a chief who is responsible for law and order. Every atoll chief, appointed by the president, functions as a district officer in the British South Asian tradition.
Maldives has no organized political parties. Candidates for elective office run as independents on the basis of personal qualifications.
conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
conventional short form: Maldives
local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa (Dhivehi (requires Unicode Thaana support): ހިވެދި ގުޖޭއްރާ ޔާއްރިހޫމްޖު)
local short form: Dhivehi Raajje (Dhivehi: ހިވެދި ޖްއްރާ)
Data code: MV
Government type: republic
Capital: Male (Dhivehi: ލެމަ)
Administrative divisions: 19 atolls (atholhu, singular and plural) and 1 other first-order administrative division*; Alifu, Baa, Dhaalu, Faafu, Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Kaafu, Laamu, Lhaviyani, Maale*, Meemu, Noonu, Raa, Seenu, Shaviyani, Thaa, Vaavu
Independence: 26 July 1965 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
Constitution: adopted January 1998
Legal system: based on Islamic law with admixtures of English common law primarily in commercial matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: appointed by the president; note - need not be members of Majlis
elections: president nominated by the Majlis and then that nomination must be ratified by a national referendum (at least a 51% approval margin is required); president elected for a five-year term; election last held 16 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2003)
election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM reelected; percent of popular vote - Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM 90.9%
unicameral People's Council or Majlis (50 seats; 42 elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 20 November 1999 (next to be held NA November 2004)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 42
Judicial branch: High Court
Political parties and leaders: although political parties are not banned, none exist
International organization participation: AsDB, C, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US: Maldives does not have an embassy in the US, but does have a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Maldives; the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka is accredited to Maldives and makes periodic visits there
Flag description: red with a large green rectangle in the center bearing a vertical white crescent; the closed side of the crescent is on the hoist side of the flag