The new president was interested in the fishermen's
situation, which was very bad then. He set up a state
fisheries organization that controlled the country’s most
important natural resource from catch for sale. Gayoom
created schools in the 19 most important islands, opened the
islands to the outside world and personally traveled to
Europe, the Middle East and participated in the
Alliance-Free Countries' 6th Summit.
In May 1980, it was officially announced that his
government had thwarted an invasion of mercenaries, led
overseas by Ibrahim Nasir, who was asked to extradite from
the Republic of Maldives continues to identify itself with
Islamic solidarity, alliance freedom, the cause of the
Palestinians, the new economic world order, disarmament,
African solidarity and the transformation of the Indian
Ocean into a sea of peace. Although a small country with
low population and limited resources, its strategic location
provides considerable bargaining power and an independent
position in foreign policy. At the same time, the will for
freedom of alliance allowed support from all countries,
without any major restrictions on its options for action.
In April 1980, the Maldives signed an agreement on
scientific and technical cooperation with the Soviet Union,
and in April 81 an agreement on trade cooperation was signed
with India, the country's largest partner in the region. In
July 81, China's then Foreign Minister, Huang Hua, visited
Male and signed a technical cooperation agreement.
In July 82, the Islands became the 47th member of British
state society. By 1979, the Maldives had joined the Alliance
Free Movement. Yet the country refused to join the Southeast
Asian Association, ASEAN, because this organization acts as
a bloc following majority decisions. As the Maldives is the
country closest to the US naval base on the island of Diego
Garcia, other countries have shown interest in its internal
affairs. In 83, Gayoom was re-elected president for another
five-year term with 95.5% of the vote.
Three months before he was re-elected for the second time
in August 88, a new coup attempt was revealed - probably led
by Amir Nasir. 75 people were taken prisoner. Most Sri
Lankans. 16 were sentenced to death and 59 were jailed.
The 37% increase in tourism between 1984 and 85 coincided
with the almost complete closure of the Maldivian shipyards,
as a result of drastic declines in imports and the loss of
important international markets. Through 86, tourism
maintained its economic importance and raised the country $
42 million - approx. 17% of gross domestic product (GDP). In
1991, the Maldives was visited by 200,000 tourists, leaving
$ 80 million in the country. But fishing remains the most
important economic activity. It employs 45% of the workforce
and accounts for 24% of GDP.
The environmental impact of the industrial activity of
the developed capitalist world has raised awareness among
the Maldives. In March 1990, thousands of school students in
the capital's streets demonstrated their concern over the
rise of the ocean around the small archipelago. The increase
is due to the «greenhouse effect», which is a result of the
global warming, which melts the ice masses at the poles with
the rise in the sea as a result. According to scientific
calculations, most of the islands in the archipelago will
disappear over the next 100 years if the current trend
Monsoon storms in 1991 triggered the economic crisis in
93-94, and in addition came from 92 a chronic trade deficit.
The government sold 25% of the shares in the Bank of
Maldives and agreed to a free trade policy covering all
sectors except the export of frozen fish.
President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom began his fourth term in
1993 and continues at the same time as Minister of Defense,
National Security and Finance. In the same year, 27% of the
state budget was spent on education, health and national
security. The fishing sector, which employs ¼ of the active
population, received 30% of the budget.
Tourist revenue totaling $ 113 million in 94 was the
basis for the archipelago's economic re-activation in 95.
Despite the non-existence of political parties or
organized opposition, young Maldives educated abroad began
to show signs of rejection of the president's rule. The
rising religious extremism in the islands is another problem
for the government of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.