Constitution of the Maldives
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The Constitution of the Maldives is the supreme law of the country of Maldives. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the Republic of Maldives, sets out the rights and duties of the citizens of Maldives, and defines the structure of the Government of the Maldives. The current Constitution of Maldives was ratified by President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom on 7 August 2008, and came into effect immediately, replacing and repealing the Constitution of 1998.
The current constitution is known by its short title, Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, 2008.
Sultanate and First Republic
The first written constitution of the Maldives was brought to effect in 1932, by Sultan Muhammad Shamsuddeen III. This constitution was largely based on customs, conventions and other traditional administrative practices that had been followed for many centuries. This constitution was written on the advice on the then acting Governor of Ceylon, Bernard H. Bourdill in 1930. Soon afterwards in 1934, a second constitution was written and brought into effect. In that same year, Sultan Muhammad Shamsuddeen III was deposed for violating his own constitution. Under the rule of Sultan Hassan Nooraddeen II, a third constitution was written and brought into effect. on 30 January 1940, the constitutional system was deemed unnecessary and was abolished; only to be reinitiated in 1942. (5th constitution) After another constitution change in 1951, the Maldives was declared a republic in 1954.
Under the rule of President Mohamed Ameen Didi, a new constitution (7th) was brought into effect. This constitution lasted only 8 months, when the republic was abolished and the country went back to a sultanate, under the rule of Sultan Muhammad Fareed Didi. This change introduced yet another constitution brought to effect on 7 March 1954. This was followed by a 9th constitution in 1964 and another in 1967.
Under the rule of president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, a 12th constitution was introduced in 1998. The government proclaimed that this change was brought to encourage the people of the country to live in friendship, amity and co-operation, and to encourage good deeds and respect among one another and being just, and to live in equality and fraternity.
In June 2008, an assembly, called the "Special Majlis", competed a new constitution. It was ratified by the president on 7 August 2008. This constitution was written over a period of 4 years, started in 2003 when President Gayyoom promised a new 'modern, multi-party and democratic system' in the country following the 2003 Maldives civil unrest and others that followed. This new constitution includes a judiciary run by an independent commission, and independent commissions to oversee elections and fight corruption. It also reduces the executive powers vested under the president and strengthens the parliament. Among other changes, it states that "a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives".
The constitution consists of a preamble, fourteen chapters followed by three schedules. Each chapter and schedule focus on a specific topic. The following is a list of chapters and schedules and the focus of each.
- Chapter 1 - State, Sovereignty and Citizens
- Chapter 2 - Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
- Chapter 3 - The People's Majlis
- Chapter 4 - The President
- Chapter 5 - The Cabinet of Ministries
- Chapter 6 - The Judiciary
- Chapter 7 - Independent Commissions and Offices
- Chapter 8 - Decentralized Administration
- Chapter 9 - Security Services
- Chapter 10 - Properties, Liabilities and Legal Actions of the State
- Chapter 11 - State of Emergency
- Chapter 12 - Amendment of the Constitution
- Chapter 13 - Application and Construction of the Constitution
- Chapter 14 - Transitional Matters
- Schedule 1 - Oaths of Office
- Schedule 2 - Administrative Divisions
- Schedule 3 - National Flag
As of June 2013, no amendments have been brought to the current constitution.
|No.||Constitution||Date ratified||Date abolished||Ruler||Amendments||Notes|
|1||Constitution of the Maldives, 1932||22-12-1932||05-07-1934||Sultan Muhammad Shamsuddeen III||N/A||First constitution.|
|2||Constitution of the Maldives, 1934||05-07-1934||28-01-1937||Sultan Muhammad Shamsuddeen III||16-07-1936||To meet growing public demands.|
|3||Constitution of the Maldives, 1937||28-01-1937||30-01-1940||Sultan Hassan Nooraddeen II||-||Amending entire 2nd constitution.|
|4||Constitution of the Maldives, 1942||23-04-1942||31-05-1951||Sultan Hassan Nooraddeen II||Yes||Reinitiated constitutional system.|
|5||Constitution of the Maldives, 1942||31-05-1951||1953||Sultan Hassan Nooraddeen II||-|
|6||Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, 1954||1953||31-01-1954||President Mohamed Amin Didi||-|
|7||Constitution of the Maldives, 1954||07-03-1954||14-06-1964||Sultan Muhammad Fareed Didi||-|
|8||Constitution of the Maldives, 1964||14-06-1964||10-06-1967||Sultan Muhammad Fareed Didi||-||Major amend.|
|9||Constitution of the Maldives, 1967||10-07-1967||11-11-1968||Sultan Muhammad Fareed Didi||-||Major amend.|
|10||Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, 1968||11-11-1968||27-11-1998||President Ibrahim Nasir||23-04-1970
|11||Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, 1997||27-11-1997||07-08-2008||President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom||-|
- CIA World Factbook - Maldives
- Constitution of Maldives – Article 9 D
- English version of Constitution (129 pages)
- New ratified (on 7 August 2008) constitution of Maldives (english translation)
- New ratified (on 7 August 2008) constitution of Maldives (dhivehi)