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currency: Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR)
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Maldives profile
1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts); archipelago with strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean
Maldives history
A sultanate since the 12th century, the Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. It became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM dominated the islands' political scene for 30 years, elected to six successive terms by single-party referendums. Following political demonstrations in the capital Male in August 2003, the president and his government pledged to embark upon democratic reforms including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Progress was sluggish, however, and many promised reforms were slow to be realized. Nonetheless, political parties were legalized in 2005. In June 2008, a constituent assembly - termed the "Special Majlis" - finalized a new constitution, which was ratified by the president in August. The first-ever presidential elections under a multi-candidate, multi-party system were held in October 2008. GAYOOM was defeated in a runoff poll by Mohamed NASHEED, a political activist who had been jailed several years earlier by the former regime. President NASHEED faced a number of challenges including strengthening democracy and combating poverty and drug abuse. In early February 2012, after several weeks of street protests following his sacking of a top judge, NASHEED resigned the presidency and handed over power to Vice President Mohammed WAHEED Hassan Maniku. In mid-2012, the Commission of National Inquiry was set by the Government to probe events leading to the regime change. Though no evidence of a coup was found, the report recommended the need to strengthen the country's democratic institutions to avert similar events in the future, and to further investigate alleged police misconduct during the crisis. Maldives officials have played a prominent role in international climate change discussions (due to the islands' low elevation and the threat from sea-level rise) on the United Nations Human Rights Council, and in encouraging regional cooperation, especially between India and Pakistan.
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Conventional long form: Republic of Maldives
Conventional short form: Maldives
Local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
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Maldives's capital city is Male (pronounced 'Ma Ley)
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Maldives Constitution:

new constitution ratified 7 August 2008
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Maldives population growth rate: -0.127%
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Maldives highest point: unnamed location on Viligili in the Addu Atholhu 2.4 m
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Maldives lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
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About 16% of Maldives's land is arable.
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Maldives birth rate is 15 births/1,000 population
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Maldives infant mortality rate is 26 deaths/1,000 live births
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Maldives fertility rate is 1.78 children born/woman
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Maldives climate:

hot, humid;
dry, northeast monsoon (November to March);
rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)
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Top 10 cities of Maldives with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Malé: 62,567
2. Addu City: 31,999
3. Fuvahmulah: 11,857
4. Kulhudhuffushi: 8,974
5. Thinadhoo: 7,108
6. Naifaru: 5,133
7. Hinnavaru: 4,676
8. Gan: 4,385
9. Dhuvaafaru: 4,368
10. Dhidhdhoo: 3,848
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Maldives ethnic groups:

South Indians
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Maldives Exports:

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Maldives Imports:

petroleum products, ships, foodstuffs, clothing, intermediate and capital goods
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unicameral Parliament or People's Majlis (77 seats; members elected by direct vote to serve five-year terms); note - the Majlis in February 2009 passed legislation that increased the number of seats to 77 from 50

Administrative Divisions:
7 provinces
1. Dhekunu (South)
2. Mathi Dhekunu (Upper South)
3. Mathi Uthuru (Upper North)
4. Medhu (Central)
5. Medhu Dhekunu (South Central)
6. Medhu Uthuru (North Central)
7. Uthuru (North)

and 1 municipality: Maale
Political parties and leaders:
Adhaalath (Justice) Party (AP) - Sheikh Imran ABDULLA
Dhivehi Qaumee Party - Hassan SAEED
Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) (DRP) - Ahmed THASMEEN Ali
Gaumee Itthihaad Party (National Unity Party) (GIP) - Mohamed WAHEED
Islamic Democratic Party (IDP)
Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) - Ahmed SIYAM
Maldives National Congress (MNC) - Ali AMJAD
Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) - Mohamed MUNAWWAR
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) - Moosa MANIKU
Maldivian Labor Party (MLP) - Ahmed MOOSA
Maldivian Social Democratic Party (MSDP) - Reeko Ibrahim MANIKU
Meedhu Dhaaira; People's Alliance (PA) - Moosa ZAMEERI
People's Party (PP) - Ahmed RIYAZ
Poverty Alleviation Party (PAP)
Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) - Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM
Republican (Jumhooree) Party (JP) - Gasim IBRAHIM
Social Liberal Party (SLP) - Mazian RASHEED