Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom (born. 21st May 1959) is the incumbent President of the Republic of Maldives. As the Head of State and Government, he is also, therefore, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
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 the PPM, as the Party’s first “Musthashaar”(Chief Advisor).
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
After completing his secondary education, Yameen began his government service in July 1978, as a Surveyor at the Land Registrations Division. After completing 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 Trade and Industries Ministry. 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, in June 1997, as the Chairman of the State Electric Company Limited (STELCO). 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 registering appreciable profits and had gained the reputation of the people for quality of service. Yameen had also served as the Chairman of leading State enterprises Island Aviation Services (IAS) and State Trading Organisation (STO), during his illustrious career. He had also held the post of Vice Chairman of the Addu Development Authority.
In May 2004, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was appointed as the Chair of the Machchangolhi Ward of Male’. The smallest of the four wards of the capital at the time, Yameen focused on the development of education and social harmony among the residents. During his tenure, he supported the growth of Ahmadhiyya School, which soon became the top primary and secondary school in Male’ by examination results. Machchangolhi also enjoyed a period of unprecedented success in numerous national competitions, particularly in arts and crafts.
Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was first appointed as 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 also a key player in Maldives’ becoming a Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and other international trade and investment organisations.
In addition to his service as Minister of Trade and Industries (and later as Minister of Trade, Industries and Labour), Yameen also served as Minister of Higher Education, Employment and Social Security (July 2005 – April 2007) and as Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation (September 2008 – November 2008).
Yameen was elected on the 17th of November 2013 as the Sixth President of the Republic after a two decade long record of service as a Member of the People’s Majlis (the Parliament). He debuted in parliamentary politics in 1993.
He had initially served as the Member for the South Miladhunmadulu (Noonu) Atoll Constituency, for which he was elected for four successive terms. For his final term, he was elected as the Member for the Mulaku (Meemu) Atoll Constituency. Yameen also served as the Minority Leader of the Majlis, until 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 of finding legislative solutions to economic issues. A nearly ever-present member of the budgetary debates in the Majlis, Yameen earned a reputation as an esteemed economist and corporate strategist. He had also served, during his years as a senior parliamentarian, as the Chair of the Standing Committees on National Security and of Economics. During President Gayoom’s tenure, Yameen played an active role in formulating many of the legislations relating to trade and economy.
REFORM EFFORTS AND PARTY POLITICS
During the final term of office of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Yameen was at the forefront of the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms, particularly through the legislature. Among his most vocal contributions were the lowering of the voting age to 18 years and establishing 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 President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. 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 President Gayoom, to form the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), again under the stewardship of President Gayoom. Yameen was the architect of the Party’s almost overnight electoral success. In less than two years, PPM had registered 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. They have three children – two sons and a daughter.