In an address on Republic Day, outgoing President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih reflected on the transformative journey of his administration over the past five years. He underscored the restoration of peace and harmony across the nation, attributing this achievement to the administration’s relentless efforts to ensure safety on the streets of Malé City and promote equitable access to essential services. The fruits of these endeavours, he noted, are now evident across the country, bringing ease and benefits to the lives of the island residents.

Advancing Social Justice and Education

President Solih’s tenure marked a significant shift from a fearful and unrestful public to a peaceful society, ensuring freedom of expression and equal access to essential services. He stated that his government prioritised social justice, equality, and balanced development among the islands, ensuring all citizens were covered under government responsibilities. He emphasised the importance of a seamless transition of administration, a first in the Maldives’ multi-party system era.

President Solih’s administration introduced free degrees for all students, emphasising the importance of robust education and health services for national growth. The administration also improved employee salaries, with pay harmonisation benefiting the healthcare and education sectors, he said. The 2024 budget includes wage increases for judiciary, military, police, and other government employees.

Pioneering Progress in Healthcare, Education, and Housing

President Solih also spoke about the transformative impact of the administration’s decentralised governance initiatives, which have catalysed substantial progress in various sectors of the nation. “Decentralisation has improved healthcare and education, with initiatives like tertiary-level hospitals in five regions and a nationwide mental health awareness campaign,” he said.

In what could be his farewell address to the nation, the outgoing president detailed the efforts to develop the land areas of Gulhi Falhu, Giravaru Falhu, Uthuru Thila Falhu, and Hulhumalé Phase III to alleviate the housing shortage. As such, over 6,500 of the 9,031 land recipients among the Malé citizens had received their land titles, he noted. He additionally stated that to ease the housing shortage, 2,732 housing units were built in the atolls, and 7,700 housing units were being built in the Malé region.

Strengthening Global Ties and Maldives’ Diplomatic Achievements

While speaking about the government’s achievements in foreign relations, the president commented on Israel’s ongoing military operations in Palestine and strongly condemned the atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. The President affirmed that the Maldivians’ solidarity and support for the independence of Palestine will never change.

He further stated that the Maldives’ external ties with the international community strengthened the most during the last five years. He declared that 101 countries now allow Maldivians to travel without a visa and that the nation’s diplomatic and political ties have increased to 185 nations. He additionally noted the Maldives’ successful presidency during the 76th United Nations General Assembly.

Championing Environmental Advocacy and Social Inclusivity

Highlighting the work done on climate change and the environment during this term, the president stated that the threats faced by the Maldivian environment due to global climate change are indisputable and that the Maldives has become a country that plays a vital role in making decisions at the forefront of the world’s environmental issues.

The administration also achieved record international sports achievements, facilitated athlete training, and promoted inclusivity, President Solih said. Improvements in social services include state care facilities for children in seven regions and a comprehensive network of services for individuals with disabilities. These efforts have significantly advanced equitable development and enhanced citizens’ quality of life across the Maldives, he added.

Overcoming the Pandemic, Economic Resilience, and Investment in Key Sectors

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the administration has introduced revolutionary economic policies aimed at doubling the state’s future earnings, according to the president. He highlighted the Maldives’ early vaccination and border reopening, and commended the recovery of tourism and the economy, citing the construction of airport terminals and land reclamation projects.

The president also emphasised the administration’s significant investments in the fisheries sector, a vital economic area previously overlooked. These efforts have significantly advanced equitable development and enhanced citizens’ quality of life across the Maldives.