What Type Of Government Does Maldives Have?

The government buildings of the Maldives.
The government buildings of the Maldives.

Maldives is an island country situated in the Arabian Sea. The first settlement in the cluster islands can be traced to more than 2,500 years back with the Hindus and Buddhist fishermen and sailors arriving on the islands from India as early as 500 BC. The settlers came in small numbers and did not make any attempt to set up a formal government. In the 12th century, there were minor political battles on the island over the allocation of scarce resources and division of land. Maldives came under the control of British in the 19th century until 1965 when the country attained its independence. The country was ruled by Sultan and there was no democratic election until November 1968 when it became a republic.

The Modern Day Government

The current form of Maldives government was adopted in 1968 when the country became a republic. The politics take place in the context of a presidential representative democratic republic. The position of Sultan was scrapped off and replaced by the president when the country became a republic. There are three branches of government; executive, legislative, and judiciary. The local government is devolved and consists of 20 Atolls. Each of the inhabited islands is administered by an Island Councilor who is elected by the members of the island. In October 2008, 40 years after becoming a Republic, Maldives held its first ever multi-party presidential election.

The Executive Branch Of The Government Of Maldives

The executive branch is headed by the president who also heads both the government and state. The president and the vice president are directly elected by the citizen through a secret ballot for a five-year term up to a minimum of two terms according to the constitution. The president appoints the cabinet which must be approved by the parliament before taking an oath of office. The president is also the chief commander of the Maldives Forces and has the power to pardon. He represents the country in international meetings. The president is also considered the chief spokesman of the Islam in the country. The executive is responsible for formulating policies and implementing projects that enhance the living standards of the citizens.

The Legislative Branch Of The Government Of Maldives

The unicameral Parliament of Maldives is known as the People’s Majlis. The Majlis enacts, amends, and revises laws except for the constitution. The current parliament is composed of 85 legislatures, one from each electorate. Initially, Majlis was controlled by the ruling party but not so today. Some of the Members are aligned to the opposition parties. Member of Majlis is elected for a 5-year term. The parliament is elected 30 days before the expiration of the existing one. Members are required to take an oath before transacting any business and are offered parliamentary immunity under the constitution. The Majlis is opened each year on the last Thursday of February by the country’s president. During this time the president outlines his policies and achievements. The Majlis also passes the annual budget.

The Judicial Branch Of The Government Of Maldives

The judiciary is a systematic institution in Maldives and has always been under the control of the Head of State. The legal system is based on Islamic Law with some elements of English common law. The judges are appointed by the President with the Chief Justice also responsible to the president. The Department of Judicial Administration is the Maldives’ judiciary administrative arm.


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