In Maldives, the official definition of youth covers ages from 18 to 35 years. According to the Maldives Statistical yearbook of 2011, 51% of the total population of Maldives is below 25 years, and 69.9% is below 35 years.
During the time before the multiparty system was introduced, most of the political posts were awarded by the president, and people from certain established families only got chance to be in leadership positions. Therefore, now when the multiparty system has been introduced, people are still reluctant to volunteer to run for leadership positions within the party or in national level elections.
However, since the introduction of the multiparty system in Maldives, almost all of the political parties in Maldives have women’s wings and youth wings with its own elected president, vice president and a council members, making women and youth take leadership positions within the party. It is considered a platform for them to move on to national leadership position. However, currently, there is no systematic process for young people to get involved in the legislative process.
In the parliament, there is an increased number of youth members. The process of decentralization has opened opportunities for both women and youth to take part in elections and politics. In 2012, 57% of the local council members are below the age of 35 years.
Rozaina Adam, Emgaging Young Women and Men, Girls and Boys, to Advance Gender Equality, United Nations, 2012, http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw56/panels/panel5-emerging-theme-Adam.pdf.