Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (born December 29, 1937) was President
President of the Maldives
The President of the Maldives is the Head of State and Head of Government and first citizen of the Republic of Maldives and the Supreme Commander of the Maldivian armed forces.The current President of the Republic of Maldives is Mohamed Nasheed....

 of the Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

 from 1978 to 2008. After serving as Minister of Transport, he was nominated as President by the Majlis
Majlis of the Maldives
The Majlis of the Maldives or the People’s Majlis is the main legislature body of the Maldives. The Majlis has the authority to enact, amend and revise laws, except the constitution of the Maldives. Majlis is composed of 77 members...

 (Parliament) of the Maldives and succeeded Ibrahim Nasir
Ibrahim Nasir
Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan , KCMG, NGIV was a Maldivian politician who served as Prime Minister of the Maldives under Sultan Muhammad Fareed Didi from 1957 to 1968 and succeeded him to become the first President of the Second Republic from...

 on November 11, 1978. He eventually became the longest-ruling head of government in Asia. After 30 years in office, Gayoom was defeated in the October 2008 presidential election and was succeeded by the opposition leader, Mohamed Nasheed
Mohamed Nasheed
Mohamed Nasheed is a Maldivian politician. He is the current President of the Maldives. He is the founder of the Maldivian Democratic Party and was its presidential candidate in the October 2008 presidential election, defeating long-time President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in a second round of voting...

 of the Maldivian Democratic Party
Maldivian Democratic Party
The Maldivian Democratic Party is the ruling political party in power of the Maldives. It is a liberal party with its stated goal being the promotion of human rights and democracy in the Maldives. This party won the first ever multi-party elections in the Maldives...

 on November 11, 2008 – exactly 30 years to the day he first came to power.

My main objective has been to raise the standard of living of the people, to achieve social and economic progress.

I think our human rights record is very good. ... there is no systematic human rights abuses in the Maldives, there are no arbitrary arrests and people are tried in open court and they have access to lawyers.

These people where inciting people to violence. That is not allowed in any country, in any democracy. You don't allow that in the United Kingdom, you don't allow that in the United States, or anywhere in the world.

Freedom of expression is guaranteed by our constitution.

When asked about why the opposition members were arrested, Gayyoom replied in a crazy manner "Violence, Violence, Violence"