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Country information - Maldives
Country name - conventional long form : Republic of Maldives
Country name - conventional short form : Maldives
Country name - local long form : Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Country name - local short form : Dhivehi Raajje
Government type : republic
Capital - name : Male
Capital - time difference : UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Independence Day, 26 July (1965)
Population : 385,925 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Maldivian(s)
Nationality - adjective : Maldivian
Languages : Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
Currency (code) : rufiyaa (MVR)
Currency code : MVR

Maldives is located Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India. The climate is tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August). The terrain is flat, with white sandy beaches.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Background : The Maldives was long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then under British protection. It became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM dominated the islands' political scene for 30 years, elected to six successive terms by single-party referendums. Following riots in the capital Male in August 2004, the president and his government pledged to embark upon democratic reforms including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Progress was sluggish, however, and many promised reforms were slow to be realized. Nonetheless, political parties were legalized in 2005. In June 2008, a constituent assembly - termed the "Special Majlis" - finalized a new constitution, which was ratified by the president in August. The first-ever presidential elections under a multi-candidate, multi-party system were held in October 2008. GAYOOM was defeated in a runoff poll by Mohamed NASHEED, a political activist who had been jailed several years earlier by the former regime. Challenges facing the new president include strengthening democracy and combating poverty and drug abuse.

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