The Republic of Maldives is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean around the Arabian Sea. The nation consists of a double chain of twenty-six atolls that lie west of the southern-most tip of India and Sri Lanka. With the capital Malé, located at the southern edge of the North Malé Atoll, having a population of 103,693, the entire nation has a population of 393,595. In July of 1965, the Republic of Maldives gained independence under an agreement signed with the UK. After abolishing the sultanate, Maldivians created a republic after a national referendum in March of 1968. The government is structured in the framework of a democratic republic with a presidential representative, where the president is the head of government. The government exercises executive power. Each atoll has its own Atoll Council, which is elected by the Island councilors, which are elected by the people of each island.