The Maldives is a sovereign, independent, democratic and unitary Republic based on the principles of Islam. The powers of the State are derived from, and remain with, the citizens.
The Legislative power is vested in the People’s Majlis.
The People’s Majlis (Parliament of Maldives) is unicameral in structure. It is composed of two elected members coming from each of the 20 administrative atolls and Male, the capital. If the population of an administrative atoll exceed 5,000, an additional member is provided for every 5,000 that is an excess of the first 5,000.
Members of the Majlis are elected directly through the first-past-the-post system and continue its office for five years. From every electoral constituency, the candidate that has obtained the majority number of votes is deemed as the Member of Parliament for that particular constituency. One is qualified to be a member if he is a citizen of the Maldives; not a citizen of a foreign country; a Muslim of the Sunni school, at least 18 years of age; and is of sound mind.
A run-off election would be held if more than one candidate got the majority number of votes in a constituency. It shall be held within a maximum period of 15 days from the date after the official results for that election has been released. It shall continue to be held until a member of Parliament is elected in that constituency.
However, if a seat is rendered vacant in the Majlis, a by-election shall be held within sixty days from the date of its vacancy; but shall not be held within six months prior to a general election.
As provided by the Constitution, the executive power is vested in the President, who is elected directly by universal and secret suffrage.
A person may only qualify to run for President if he is a Maldivian citizen whose parents are also Maldivian citizens, and is not a citizen of another country. Moreover, he must be a Muslim of the Sunni school, who is at least 35 years of age; of sound mind and does not hold an undischarged decreed debt.
The candidate who earned over fifty percent of the votes is elected president. However, if no candidate acquires the required percentage of votes, a run-off election would be held within twenty-one days of the first election. Only the two candidates with the highest number of votes will compete in the run-off election, unless there are two candidates in second position with an equal number of votes, then the top three shall contest in the run-offs. On the other hand, if the two candidates with the highest number of votes in the first election receive an equal number of votes, then they shall compete in the run-offs.
Universal suffrage is granted to all Maldivian citizens who are above 18 years of age, except to those who have been convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to imprisonment for more than 5 years and who is serving that sentence.