|Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom
އަބްދުﷲ ޔާމީން އަބްދުލް ގައްޔޫމް
|6th President of the Maldives|
17 November 2013
|Vice President||Mohamed Jameel Ahmed
|Preceded by||Mohammed Waheed Hassan|
|Born||Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom
21 May 1959
|Political party||Progressive Party of Maldives|
|Alma mater||American University of Beirut
Claremont Graduate University
Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom (Maldivian: އަބްދުﷲ ޔާމީން އަބްދުލް ގައްޔޫމް; born 21 May 1959) is a Maldivian politician who has been President of the Maldives since 2013. He is the half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
As the presidential candidate for the Progressive Party (PPM), Yameen was elected as President in 2013, defeating Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed in the 2013 presidential elections.
Early life and career
After completing primary and secondary schooling in Majeedhiyya School in Male’, Yameen obtained a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Later, he obtained a master's degree in Public Policy from the Claremont Graduate School in Los Angeles, California.
Yameen began his government service in July 1978. Following his undergraduate studies in Beirut, Lebanon, he returned home in 1982 and served first as Secretary at the Department of Finance and then as Research Officer at the Research and International Organisations Division of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA). On his return after completing his postgraduate studies, Yameen began what would be a two decade long record of service in the Ministry of Trade and Industries. Among the posts that he had held there were Foreign Trade Development Officer, Undersecretary, Assistant Director, Deputy Director, Director, Director General and then the Minister of Trade and Industries.
In addition to his services as the Minister of Trade and Industries (and later as the Minister of Trade, Industries and Labour), Yameen also served as the Minister of Higher Education, Employment and Social Security and later, as the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation in the cabinet of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is Yameen's half-brother.
From 1990 to 2005, Yameen was involved with the State Trading Organisation (STO), where he served as chairman. Allegations of corruption during his tenure at the STO which may have led to millions of dollars in personal gain for Yameen, have surfaced in the last decade. Yameen also served as the Chairman of the Island Aviation Services (IAS) and held the post of Vice Chairman of the Addu Development Authority.
President Yameen was a Member at the People’s Majlis (Parliament of Maldives) for two decades before he was sworn into office as President on 17 November 2013. He entered the parliament in 1993.
In May 2004, President Yameen was appointed as the Chair of the Machchangolhi Ward of Male’. One of the four wards of the capital at the time, Yameen focused on the development of education and social harmony among the residents. Machchangolhi also enjoyed a period of unprecedented success in numerous national competitions, particularly in arts and crafts. During his tenure, he supported the growth of Ahmadhiyya School, which soon became the top primary and secondary school in Male’ by examination results.
After a few years in People’s Alliance (PA), a political party he helped form, Yameen joined the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in 2010. PPM is the party of former president and Yameen's half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had governed Maldives for 30 years. The presidential election was held under controversial circumstances following the resignation of president Mohamed Nasheed in 2012. In the first round of voting, Nasheed received 45.45% of the votes and Yameen received 25.35% of the votes and finished in second place, forcing a second round which Yameen won by 51.39% of votes to Nasheed's 48.61%. The results were disputed by opposition members due to the planned original second round being annulled by the Supreme Court due to a high number of ineligible voters being registered.
Within President Yameen’s first two years in office, he brought about a reduction in the state budget deficit from double figures to near five percent. Efforts such as the ‘2016 Visit Maldives Year’ initiative and mega-infrastructure projects, such as the bridge linking the capital city directly to the airport and the airport expansion, have set the agenda towards widening prospects for growth and gains – the focus being on growing, promoting and putting into place mechanisms towards sustaining and maintaining economic growth well beyond the current administration’s term in office. Development of regional airports is further set to contribute to growth.
During his presidency Yameen has sought various economic reforms including allowing the foreign ownership of land in Maldives for the first time. He has also sought closer economic relations with China by supporting China's Maritime Silk Road and also by promoting Chinese and other overseas investment in the Maldives. Maldives enjoys a great relationship with the Middle-East as a development partner.
In recent years, there have been several allegations of corruption during Yameen's tenure as chairman of the State Trading Corporation, where $300 million worth of oil was reportedly sold to Myanmar's military dictatorship which was facing strict sanctions from the U.S and the European Union at the time. Maldivian police conducted raids in newspaper offices that reported on the alleged corruption claims.
Yameen has also faced criticism from opposition supporters and overseas leaders for the imprisonment of political figures such as former president Mohamed Nasheed and former Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim. He has been accused of framing and imprisoning them for political purposes and criticism has been increasing over the authoritarian nature of his government. In 2016, the Maldivian parliament controlled by Yameen's party, PPM, passed the Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act, drawing condemnation from the United Nations and international rights groups. The act criminalises defamation – which had been de-criminalised in 2009 – and imposes hefty fines on individuals accused of defamatory speech, remarks, writings and other actions against "any tenet of Islam". Publications, including websites, found carrying "defamatory" comments could also have their licenses revoked.
Yameen is the son of Sheikh Abdul Gayoom Ibrahim, who was an eminent judge in the Maldives, and half brother of the former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He is married to Fathimath Ibrahim and has three children, two sons and a daughter.
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Mohammed Waheed Hassan
|President of the Maldives