Government of the Maldives

Government of the Maldives
Maldives is a presidential republic, with the President as head of government and head of state. The President heads the executive branch and appoints the cabinet which is approved by the People's Majlis (Parliament).
Following the introduction of a new constitution in 2008, direct elections for the President take place every five years, with a limit of two terms in office for any individual. The current President is Mohammed Waheed Hassan. Members of the unicameral Majlis serve five-year terms, with the total number of members determined by atoll populations. At the 2009 election, 77 members were elected.

President Mohamed Amin Didi served as the first president of the Maldives and as the head of government between 1 January 1953, and 21 August 1953. Due to unpopular policies he was deposed.

Prior to 2008, Maldives did not have a constitution which guaranteed fundamental human rights. For 30 years, from 1978 until 2008, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom served as president. During the later part of his rule, independent political movements emerged in Maldives, which challenged the then-ruling Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) and demanded democratic reform. These movements brought about significant change in political structure. In 2008 a new constitution was approved and the first direct presidential elections occurred, which were won by Mohamed Nasheed and Mohammed Waheed Hassan (as Vice-President) in the second round. The 2009 parliamentary election saw the Maldivian Democratic Party of President Nasheed receive the most votes with 30.81%, gaining 26 seats, however the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party with 24.62% of the vote received the most seats.

Despite the passage from monarchy to republic, the contemporary political structure shows continuity in which power has been shared among a few families at the top of the social structure. In some islands, the offices have remained within the same family for generations. In the modern day, the village is ruled by an administrative officer called Katību, who serves as the executive headman of the island. Above the Katībus of every atoll is the AtoỊuveriya (Atoll Chief). Although many islands are distant from the governing capital, administrative rights over the lawmaking body of a particular island is held to a minimum, hence centralising representatives from islands to a general parliament. The People's Majlis, located in Male, houses members from all over the country.

As a Republic the Constitution came into force in 1968 (and was amended in 1970, 1972, and 1975.) On 27 November 1997 was replaced by another Constitution assented to by the President Gayoom. This Constitution came into force on 1 January 1998. All stated that the president was the Head of State, Head of Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Police of the Maldives. A third Constitution was ratified on 7 August 2008, which separated the judiciary from the head of state.