Gayoom was acting transport minister in President Ibrahim Nasir's administration when the Maldivian Assembly nominated him to succeed Nasir in 1978. Ibrahim Nasir, prime minister since 1957 and president since 1968, earned a reputation for autocratic leadership; Gayoom was once banished for criticizing him. Amidst signs of declining support from the political elite and because of public demonstrations over rising food prices and his exile of the popular prime minister, Ahmed Zaki, Nasir announced his intention to resign in 1978. Soon thereafter, Gayoom's nomination by the assembly was approved by a majority of the popular vote. Gayoom, who began his first five-year term of office in 1978, was reelected in 1983, 1988, 1993, and, since there were no other candidates, again in 1998. Gayoom is also the minister of defense and national security and the minister of finance and treasury.