Maldives. According to Countryaah, the capital of Maldives is Male. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has ruled the Maldives since 1978, was re-elected in October for a new five-year term. According to a new constitution that came into force in January, it was for the first time allowed to register as a counter candidate. However, the Election Commission found all four challengers unsuitable to lead the country. Just over 90% of those who took part in the election supported Gayoom in the referendum that approved Parliament’s nomination of him. Amnesty International claimed that opponents of the president were arrested or threatened on Election Day.
Gayoom promised to use his new term to accelerate the construction of an artificial island on the cramped main atoll Male. The new island of Hulhumale will be three times the size of Male and will accommodate 125,000 residents, nearly half of the country’s current population. As Hulhumale will be made higher than the natural atoll islands, it will be better protected against a higher sea level. Construction of the island began in October 1997.