The Constitution of the Maldives

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Formation of the Maldives Constitution

It is believed that until 1932, the Maldives lacked a constitution, allowing customs and practices to govern the country. The Sultan would be required to confer with a group of advisers during the early stages of formulating a constitution, and they would be expected to work with ministers and the Chief Justice. The Fandiyaaru is another name for the top justice. Even though Kings eventually took over this function, Islamic schools played a significant part because they were engaged in influencing government affairs. The present day Maldives Constitution comprises several chapters that provide for the provision of the laws that apply to the citizens and the oaths of office that state officers are required to take before embarking on public service. It is supposed that the Maldives constitution compares with the US types especially following the drafting process and amendments that ensured more democracy with the ratification of the 2008 Constitution providing for the separation of powers, accountability and transparency in governance.

Hereditary System in Maldives

Initially, the hereditary system in Maldives is thought to have been in progress even after the emergence of the kings. However, usually, the helm of the power would be transferred from one family especially following the demise of the kings. The element of having kings is unique to Maldives because the American system has not been characterized by ruling by kings at any stage of its constitutional development. To the Maldives groups, the motivation for the formation of the 1932 constitution was from the emergence of a new group of elites who introduced change. The new constitution that was formed was composed of a People’s Assembly that was composed on 47 members though this group did not serve for a considerable period. The public were the primary forces behind the failing Assembly. It is, however, noted that the ides of the formation of a People’s Assembly is compared to the 1955 formation of the America Assembly that is presently involved in issues ranging from economy, security, education, among many other issues.

The Drafting of the Constitution

The formation of the constitution was inspired by a thirteen member committees that instituted the process on March 22, 1931. The Governor of Ceylon was also key member because he was involved in the provision of the technical expertise that was needed at the time. It was not until June 16, 1931 that the drafting of the first constitution was complete. Later, the first constitution was composed of 92 articles ad a bills of rights that provided for the citizen and was a guarantee for the equality by treatment of the law. Other provisions that were outlined included the freedom from artibratry torture, the freedom of expression, the protection of private property and the freedom from association with the press and the aspect of a pension following 25 years of service to the state. The provision that were outlined in the first constitution are comparable to the current American Constitution that are outlined in the twenty-seven amendments. Among those that are smear to the Maldives paper include the prevention form arrest by the government and the protection of searches on personal property unless the official in able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they have a probable clause that warrants the search process as outlined in the Fourth Amendment. The other significant features that s worth relating to the Maldives case constitution is that there is a freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and other many other rights that are shared by the outlines of the Maldives Constitutional developmental process.

Failures and Amendments

However, with times in the historical records establish that the first institution developed in Maldives failed within nine months of it ratification process. The People’s Majilis was later established and it passed 40 laws and the new legislation established fines and penalties and further established a Foreign Investments Act that regulated foreign trade. However, the new laws that were formed angered the mainstream population as many were of the idea that the they were oppressive. A series of strikes in 1933 later followed as the foreign traders led by influential groups demanded that the government laws ought to be repelled. The result was that the founders of the constitution were banished to Colombo and the amendment process initiated as the constitution changed to 84 articles. The formation of the Foreign Investments Act is comparable to the Foreign Investments Act of 191 that is applicable in the US constitution that provides limitation on foreign investments.

Evolution of the Constitution

In 1942, Sultan Hassan Nooradeen suggested a 17 article constitution in which he argued that that Majilis should favor it as a "a suitable constitution to exist in the Maldives." The supposedly small constitution appeared to be effective because it handed the state powers to the foreign minister, the monarchy, the foreign minister, and the People’s Majilis. The end was that the People’s Majilis members were reduced to 27 elected members as democracy was slowly taking over. The trends are comparable to those in the US because can be related that the People’s Majiliss s the present day Executive branch that is described under Article 2 of the American Constitution. The US case presents the President, the Vice President, the Cabinet, the Departments and the Cabinet Secretaries who are expected to undertake the laws as defined by the provision of the Congress. Further the element of the reduction of the state powers can be described to be comparable to Article 4 of the American Constitution. The state powers that were also defined in the Maldives Constitution apply in the American case because the state powers as outlined in Article 4 is mandated with the role of making rules and apply based on the people and the problems that apply in a particular context.

Comparison with the American Constitution

It is also defined that the new constitution in Maldives described the 30 articles and required that the president should be elected through direct vote. A judiciary was also formed with the appointment process being the role of the president. Furthermore, an 18-member senate and a 47 member of the House of representative. All these features are similar as they also apply in the American Constitution, only that the number of the stat official differs possibly because of the difference in the geographical coverage and the country sizes. In the US, the total number of the members of the house of representatives stands at 47, which is a considerable higher values compared to the Maldives case. Furthermore, while a president is only required serve for a term of four years before reelection, the Maldives Constitution described that he president serves for five years.


In summary, it is seen while the initial advances into the formation of the Maldives Constitution involved frequent failures, there was stability over the years as the nation was able to make several amendments to its constitution. In fact, in the initial stages, the Maldives Constitution differed greatly from that of the US as there was no democracy in the political processes as many of the roles were defined by the kings. Over the years, there was a reduction of the state powers, the requirement of a president and house of representatives, and the formation of rights and citizen freedom provisions. It is noted that the features can be comparable to those in the US Constitution thought he only difference lies in the numbers of politicians and state officers, which could be attributed to the fact that there was a difference in the geographical sizes of the two nations.


A&E Television Networks, LLC. “America Gets a Constitution.” (2017).

Ackerman, Bruce. “The Living Constitution.” Harvard Law Review, 2007.

Carrasco Quiroga, Edesio. “AMERICA’S CONSTITUTION: A BIOGRAPHY.” Ius et Praxis, 2010.

Druckman, James N. “Framing American Politics.” Political Psychology, 2006.

Minivan. “A Short Constitutional History of the Maldives.” Minivan News (2017).

“Constitution of the Republic of Maldives 1998.” Constitution of the Republic of Maldives 1998 (1998).

“The First Constitution and Maldives Republic.” This is Maldives (2010).

July 07, 2023

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