Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom (born. 21 May 1959) is the incumbent President of the Republic of Maldives. As the Head of State and Government, he is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Police.
Yameen is a founding signatory and former Leader of the Parliamentary Group of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). With his assumption of office, he continues to serve on the Governing Council of PPM, as the Party’s first “Musthashaar”(Chief Advisory).
After completing primary and secondary schooling in Majeedhiyya School in Male’, Yameen obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Later, he obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Claremont Graduate School in Los Angeles, California.
GOVERNMENT SERVICE RECORD
Yameen began his government service in July 1978, as Surveyor at the Land Registrations Division. Following his undergraduate studies in Beirut, Lebanon, he returned home in mid-1982 and served first as Secretary at the Department of Finance and then as Research Officer at the Research and International Organisations Division of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA). On his return after completing his postgraduate studies, Yameen began what would be a two decade long record of service in the Ministry of Trade and Industries. Among the posts that he had held there were Foreign Trade Development Officer, Undersecretary, Assistant Director, Deputy Director, Director, Director General and then Minister.
Yameen’s reputation as a visionary, efficient and result-oriented corporate chief executive was enhanced with his appointment as the Chairman of the State Electric Company Limited (STELCO), in June 1997. The utility enterprise was facing tough times when he assumed office, with frequent outages of power in the capital and mounting debts. Yameen’s interventions saw a dramatic turnaround in the company’s fortunes. In less than three years, STELCO began generating appreciable profits and had gained a favourable reputation for quality of service. During his illustrious career, Yameen also served as the Chairman of the leading state enterprises, Island Aviation Services (IAS) and State Trading Organisation (STO). He also held the post of Vice Chairman of the Addu Development Authority.
In May 2004, Yameen was appointed as the Chair of the Machchangolhi Ward of Male’. One of the four wards of the capital at the time, Yameen focused on the development of education and social harmony among the residents. Machchangolhi also enjoyed a period of unprecedented success in numerous national competitions, particularly in arts and crafts. During his tenure, he supported the growth of Ahmadhiyya School, which soon became the top primary and secondary school in Male’ by examination results.
Yameen was first appointed as the Minister of Trade and Industries on 11 November 1993. As the Trade Minister, Yameen modernised the Maldives’ trade sector, broadening the economy and bringing in more investments to the country. He was a key player in the economic development of Maldives upon becoming a Member of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and other international trade and investment organisations.
In addition to his services as the Minister of Trade and Industries (and later as the Minister of Trade, Industries and Labour), Yameen also served as the Minister of Higher Education, Employment and Social Security (July 2005 – April 2007) and as the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation (September 2008 – November 2008).
Yameen served as a Member at the People’s Majlis (Parliament) for two decades before he was sworn into office as President on 17 November 2013. He debuted his parliamentary service in 1993.
He initially served as the Member for the South Miladhunmadulu (Noonu) Atoll Constituency, and went on to be elected for four successive terms. In his final term, he was elected as the Member for the Mulaku (Meemu) Atoll Constituency. Yameen was serving as the Minority Leader of the House, when he was elected as President. In the People’s Majlis, Yameen was renowned for his intellectual contributions to Majlis debates. He was also a strong advocate for finding legislative solutions to economic issues. Yameen earned a reputation as an esteemed economist and corporate strategist for his cogent arguments in the budgetary debates. Through his years as a senior parliamentarian, he served as the Chair of both Standing Committees on National and Security Economics. During former President Maumoon’s tenure, Yameen played an active role in formulating many of the legislations related to trade and economy.
REFORM EFFORTS AND PARTY POLITICS
During the final term in office of former President Maumoon, Yameen was at the forefront of the implementation of a myriad of democratic reforms, particularly through the legislature. Among his most vocal contributions were the lowering of the voting age to 18 years and the framework of the current Constitution of 2008. Yameen was a Member of the People’s Special Majlis (the Constitutional Assembly), that drafted the Constitution.
With the introduction of pluralist politics in 2005, Yameen played a key role in the registration and initial development of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), under the stewardship of former President Maumoon. Later, Yameen formed the People’s Alliance (PA), of which he was the Leader. In 2011, he joined forces with the reformists in the DRP – led by former President Maumoon, to form the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). Yameen was the architect of the Party’s almost overnight electoral success. In less than two years, PPM had secured no less than 20 victories in bi-elections for vacant seats in local governance and for the People’s Majlis. The winning streak culminated, in November 2013, with the remarkable presidential elections success for PPM, bringing Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to leadership.
INTERESTS & FAMILY
Son of Sheikh Abdul Gayoom Ibrahim (Maafaiygey Dhon Seedhi) – an eminent judge, Yameen is the brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Yameen has been an enthusiastic sportsman from his schooling years, with football and cricket as his preferences. He is also an avid historian. Yameen is married to Fathimath Ibrahim Didi. They have three children – two sons and a daughter.