Maldives. According to countryaah, Male is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Maldives. The Maldives escaped the tsunami on December 26, 2004 with only a hundred deaths, but materially, the tidal wave was estimated to have thrown the country back a few decades. The damage was estimated to be equivalent to up to SEK 40 billion. Of the 199 inhabited islands of the Maldives, 53 were severely damaged and about 20 were estimated to be completely devastated.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym MV stands for the country of Maldives and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
Because of the tsunami disaster, the parliamentary elections were postponed from December 2004 to January 2005. The opposition, informally organized in the banned Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), achieved great success and took between 12 and 18 of the 40 seats. The party ban made it difficult to determine exactly who could be counted as MDP representatives. After the election, President Maumun Abdul Gayum announced that democratic reforms would be implemented during the year. MDP leader Mohammad Nashid was able to return after 18 months in exile, and in June the formation of political parties was allowed. In August, however, Nashid was arrested and charged with terrorism and rioting. He was accused of advocating in a speech that the president be dismissed by force.
In October, Jennifer Lathif, the daughter of MDP’s founder Mohamed Lathif, was sentenced to ten years in prison, accused of having been roped in in 2003. MDP threatened with strikes and protest actions if the president failed to live up to the reform promises. In December, the government acknowledged that it had failed to write a new constitution within the appointed time and requested foreign assistance with the work.
In the early 2000s, the country’s political life continued to be dominated by the authoritarian regime of President MA Gayoom (in office since 1978) who, while repeatedly declaring himself willing to initiate democratic reforms, did not change his political conduct: the activity of the parties remained banned, the information subjected to strict censorship, while more and more episodes of corruption of the ruling class were becoming more numerous.
The climate of tension, aggravated by the growing abuses against the opposition forces, exploded in September 2003 in the clashes that occurred during the anti-government demonstration held in the streets of the capital following the death of three political prisoners. The massive participation in the protest led the president to return to the issues of reforms and to propose, in June 2004, constitutional amendments which, in the intentions, should have started the democratization process. Among the measures put forward were the reduction of presidential prerogatives, the possibility of being re-elected to office for only two terms and the introduction of multi-partyism. However, these openings were followed by a new wave of repression harshly condemned by the international community. It was above all the pressures of the latter, whose aid had become even more indispensable after the natural disaster caused by the tsunami (December 2004), which finally induced Gayoom to give up. In July 2005 the registration of political parties was thus allowed. The Democratic Party (which had already existed since 2001 but not recognized), the Labor Party, the Islamic Democratic Party and the Justice Party were formed alongside the People’s Party, headed by Gayoom. In August, however, the secretary of the Democratic Party was arrested and in the following months the arrests of the opponents continued. Even in 2006, political freedom was extremely limited.