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In 1978, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was elected president, and a period of political stability flourished along with an increase in tourism and increased foreign contact.
In spite of the booming economy, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's presidency was seen as controversial, and a series of coup attempts throughout the 1980s were attempted.
Additional riots in the capital city of Malè during August 2004 garnered worldwide attention, and prompted the president and his government to pledge much needed democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms.
In 2008, President Gayoom stepped down as Mohamed Nasheed won the presidential election. Nasheed encountered several challenges as a new president, including a massive debt, economic instability as a result of the 2004 tsunami, and unemployment to name but a few.
Social unrest prevailed over the next couple of years, and on February 7, 2012 Mohamed Nasheed was forced to resign, following a coup. Vice President Mohammed Hassan was sworn in as president, and in March 2012 the new regime declared that a previously proposed election (one to decide a new president) would not be held.
Throughout the past few decades the Maldives has transformed itself into a popular fishing, scuba diving, surfing and exotic resort and spa destination.
It continues its effort to reclaim (solid ground) from the shallow waters of the surrounding reefs, but its precarious elevation above sea level is an on-going concern for all who call this beautiful place, home.