Maldives. The capital, Male, was shaken in early May by several days of violent protests against sharply increased living costs. Police repeatedly used tear gas to disperse the protesters, who were described as essentially young supporters of former President Maumun Abdul Gayum.
The opposition to President Mohamed Nashid, a former prisoner of conscience during Gayum’s reign, accused the government of losing control over price developments. Food prices had risen by 30% in a short period of time as a result of the government’s decision to allow the exchange rate of the domestic currency to fluctuate against the US dollar at the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to overcome the budget deficit.
According to Countryaah official site, the government’s first attempt to curb criticism was to halve the import duty on diesel to lower transport and energy costs. During the year, neighbors India and Sri Lanka granted the country credit for food imports.
At the beginning of the year, the first local elections in the history of the Maldives were conducted as part of the government’s efforts to decentralize decisions. All 181 inhabited islands got their own elected parishes. The voters also appointed 19 atoll councils and two city councils.
In November, for the first time, the Maldives hosted the South Asian Cooperation Organization SAARC Summit. The former Maldives Minister of Justice, 36-year-old Fathimath Dhiyana Said, was appointed Secretary of the organization at the beginning of the year, the first woman in that position and even the youngest.