Under the previous Constitution promulgated in 1998, Executive power was vested in the President, elected for a five-year term. The President was nominated by the People's Majlis (parliament) and endorsed subsequently by public referendum.
Political parties were allowed to be registered in the Maldives for the first time in June 2005 and since then a number of political parties have come into being.
Although presently some of the members in the parliament are associated with different political par ties nominally, none have been elected as party candidates to date.
The People's Majlis is the body entrusted to enact legislation and comprise 50 members, 8 of whom are appointed by the President.
The other 42 members are elected by universal suffrage, 2 members from each of the 19 atolls, and 2 from the capital island of Male'.
Members of the People's Majlis are elected for a term of five years. A party-based election, with a more diverse parliamentary composition based on constituencies is scheduled to take place in 2009.
The new Constitution, unveiled on August 7, 2008 holds in place a number of balances and checks that aims to distribute power across all fractions of the polity, and of these, an important clause remains vested in Article 107,
which states that the ‘President shall hold office for a term of five years and no person shall serve more than two terms in office, whether consecutive or otherwise’.
The Maldives for the first time will see a governance structure that adheres to a philosophy driven by the pursuit of enhancing the rights, freedoms and democratic will of the people.
The President is assisted by a Cabinet of Ministers appointed by him and serves at his discretion. Ministers of the cabinet may not be members of the People's Majlis.