The ratification of a new constitution on 7th August 2008 began Maldives’ tumultuous process of transition from autocracy to democracy. The new constitution enshrined and guaranteed civil and personal liberties and established Maldives’ first independent courts, state oversight bodies and guaranteed separation of powers.

Prior to the introduction of the new constitution, the all-powerful executive controlled the judiciary as well as the parliament. At the time, independent oversight mechanisms and institutions did not exist. The president at that time at different times held multiple cabinet posts including the portfolios for foreign affairs, defence, finance, and religious affairs.

On 28th October 2008, Mohamed Nasheed won Maldives’ first multi-party presidential elections, bringing an end to the 30-year regime of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. President Nasheed promised Maldivians the “Other Maldives,” assuring development, prosperity, social security, economic stability and above all, democracy, human rights and good governance.

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