People in Maafushi, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives. Editorial credit: Marija Vujosevic /


Following decades of authoritarian rule under former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Maldives held its first multiparty presidential election in 2008. However, democratic gains have been reversed in recent years amid severe restrictions on opposition activities, the imprisonment of opposition figures, restrictions on freedoms of expression and assembly, politicization of the judiciary and other independent institutions, and increasing Islamist militancy. An opposition victory in the 2018 presidential election raised hopes for improved conditions.

An opposition demonstrator plays the violin during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images.

Freedom in the World — Maldives Country Report

The Maldives is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.