From the earliest times monarchs, both male and female,
ruled the Maldives. There is however, practically no information
regarding the rulers or their reigns before the countrys
conversion to Islam in 1153 AD. With the Conversion the
traditional monarchy that had prevailed was changed to
an Islamic Sultanate. Since then, 84 sultans and sultanas,
from 6 dynasties have ruled the country.
A 1968 referendum approved the constitution making Maldives
a republic with executive, legislative, and judicial branches
of government. The constitution was amended in 1970, 1972,
and 1975 and is again under revision.
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.
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.
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
Maldives has no organized political parties. Candidates
for elective office run as independents on the basis
of personal qualifications. Although political parties
are not banned, none exist
26 July 1965 (from UK)
Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
Adopted January 1998
21 years of age; universal
Chief of State: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM
Head of Government: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM
Cabinet: appointed by the president
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.
Unicameral People's Council or Majlis (50 seats; 42
elected by popular vote, 8 appointed by the president;
members serve five-year terms).