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Yearbook 2007

Maldives. According to CountryAAH, about 61 percent of the participants said in a referendum in August that the Maldives should have a political system with a strong US model presidential power. The alternative was a parliamentary system based on the British model. President Maumun Abdul Gayum, who has been ruling since 1978 and quite reluctantly agreed to the introduction of democracy, was the main proponent of a strong presidential office.

2007 Maldives

Shortly after the referendum, Foreign Minister Ahmed Shahid resigned in protest against what he described as conservative forces' delay in democratization. Before him, the Justice Minister and the Chancellor of Justice had also resigned after fierce criticism of the President.

In September, twelve foreign tourists - eight Chinese, two Japanese and two British - were injured in a blast attack in a park in the capital Male. Militant Islamists were blamed and police arrested nearly 50 people after clashes with alleged extremists on the island of Himandhoo. A series of laws were then quickly introduced in an attempt to curb the emergence of radical Islamism. Among other things, women are forbidden to wear a full veil and a moderate interpretation of Islam should be disseminated in schools. Words and behaviors considered to advocate extremism are prohibited. State television is not allowed to hire women who wear Muslim headscarves.

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