Politics of the Maldives

Politics of the Maldives
The politics of the Maldives take place in the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the Head of Government. Executive power is exercised by the government.
The President heads the executive branch and appoints the Cabinet; Like many presidential democracies, each member of the cabinet need to be approved by the Parliament. The President, along with the vice President, is directly elected by the people to a five-year term by a secret ballot. He could be re-elected to second 5 year term, the limit allowed by the Constitution. The current President of the Maldives is former Senior Member of UNICEF, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, who was sworn into office on 7 February 2012 when his predecessor, Mohamed Nasheed resigned following weeks of protests led by police. Nasheed reportedly resigned involuntarily to forestall an escalation of violence, and was placed under house arrest.

The unicameral Majlis of the Maldives is composed of 77 members serving a five-year term. The total number of the members representing each constituency depends on the total population of that constituency. The last parliamentary election under the new constitution was held in 9 May 2009. A total of 465 candidates - 211 from 11 political parties and 254 independents - were vying for seats in the People's Majlis. The 2009 elections were the first multi-party elections in the country. During the election, 78.87 per cent of the 209,000 registered voters turned out at the polls. The final results gave the DRP and the PA 28 and seven seats respectively, three short of a parliamentary majority. The MDP became the second largest party, winning 26 seats. The Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and the Republican Party (RP) took two seats and one seat respectively. The remaining 13 seats went to independent candidates. The Commonwealth observers who monitored the elections said that they were "well-conducted". The newly elected People's Majlis held its first session on 28 May and elected Mr. Abdulla Shahid (DRP) as its new Speaker.

The Maldivian legal system is derived mainly from traditional Islamic law. There is a Supreme Court with 5 judges including the Chief Justice.The Chief Justice is appointed by the President, with the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission. Parliament is required to approve the appointment before he assumes office. There is a High Court, a Criminal Court, Civil Court and many Lower Courts in each Atoll/Island. An Attorney General is part of the Cabinet and also needs the approval of Parliament before taking office.

Under the new constitution, the function of Local Government is devolved to an Atoll Council to administer each atoll and an Island Council to administer each inhabited island. Island councilors are elected by the people of each island, and the Atoll Councilors are in turn elected by the Island Councilors.