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Central & South Asia
The Maldives' political milestones
A summary of key events in the history of the south Asian archipelago nation.
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2008 06:17 GMT

Maldivians are voting in the country's first presidential election since Gayoom came to power [AFP]
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, president of the Maldives, is facing the strongest challenge to his 30-year rule in the country's first democratic presidental elections.

Gayoom was elected president on July 28, 1978, winning 90 per cent of the vote as the sole candidate in a presidential referendum, and he has remained in power ever since.

The following are some of the key events in the run-up to the country's first multi-party presidential elections:

2003

September 20-21: Public outrage over prison abuse boils over into unprecedented riots. Several people are arrested in the capital, Male.

October 19: Gayoom re-elected for sixth term as president.

2004

August 13: State of emergency declared after pro-democracy protests turn violent.

September 16: European parliament unanimously votes to impose sanctions against Maldives in wake of crackdown on protests. 

December: Sanctions taken off agenda after Gayoom drops charges against protesters.

December 26: Asian tsunami kills 82 Maldivians, and causes damage estimated at up to $510m or up to 80 per cent of GDP.

2005

January 26: Election mired in confusion after both government and opposition claim victory.

June 2: Government lifts ban on forming political parties, ending centuries of autocratic rule.

2006

March 28: Officials announce new reform road map, delaying first multi-party elections to 2008.

2008

January 8: Gayoom survives assassination attempt.

August 7: Gayoom ratifies new constitution paving way for multi-party presidential elections by October 10.

August 31: Ruling Dhivehi Raiyyithunge party left with two-seat majority in 50-member parliament following a series of cabinet resignations.

Source: Reuters

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