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Maldives, Economy and Government

The Maldivian economy is dominated by fishing, and the total catch in 1997 was 107,676 metric tons. The most valuable species is tuna; corals and shells are also taken. Coconuts are the principal agricultural product; most food must be imported. Industrial activity is largely limited to fish processing and garment manufacturing. The tourist industry is growing; in 2000 some 467,000 tourists visited Maldives, adding $344 million to the economy. The national currency is the rufiyaa which is made up of 100 laari (11.77 rufiyaa equal U.S.$1; 2000 average).

Maldives is a republic governed under a constitution. The country’s first constitution, promulgated in 1968, was replaced by a new constitution in 1998. Executive power is vested in a president, who serves a five-year term. Nominations for president are submitted to the Majlis, or Citizens' Council, which elects a single candidate. This candidate is then submitted to the people in a referendum in which all adults may vote. To become president, the candidate must win at least a 51-percent majority. The Majlis, a unicameral legislative body, consists of 40 members directly elected from the 20 administrative atolls, 2 members elected from Male, and 8 representatives appointed by the president. The president appoints a cabinet that is responsible to the Majlis.

 
 

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