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Yearbook 2008

Maldives. According to Countryaah reports, the transition to a democratic system that has been incremental since 2004 was completed in August, when President Maumun Abdul Gayum signed a new constitution. The new Constitution is inspired by the US, with a strong executive presidential power and with a clear distinction between legislative, executive and judicial bodies.

2008 Maldives

In October, the Maldives' first democratic presidential election was held. President Gayum, who has been in power since 1978 and re-elected without a counter-candidate repeatedly, ran for a seventh term. He clearly got the most votes in the first round but not an absolute majority and was therefore forced into a decisive round, where he faced his former worst enemy, Mohamed Nashid. He was for many years the most well-known political prisoner of the Maldives, classified by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, and represented the dominant opposition party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

In the second round, all opposition groups joined behind Nashid, who won with 54 percent of the vote. The 70-year-old Gayum, long regarded as one of Asia's most authoritarian leaders, immediately acknowledged being defeated and pledged to work for a trouble-free power shift. On November 11, Nashid was installed, the day 30 years after Gayum took power.

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