Politics of Oman

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Politics and government of

Politics of Oman takes place in a framework of an absolute monarchy whereby the Sultan of Oman is not only head of state, but also the head of government. Chief of state and government is the hereditary sultan, Qābūs ibn Saʻīd as-Saʻīd, who appoints a cabinet to assist him. In the early 1990s, the sultan instituted an elected advisory council, the Majlis ash-Shura, though few Omanis were eligible to vote.

Universal suffrage for those over 21 was instituted on 4 October 2003. Over 190,000 people (74% of those registered) voted to elect the 83 seats. Two women were elected to seats.


The monarchy

The sultan is a direct descendant of the nineteenth-century ruler, Usman Sa'id bin Sultan, who first opened relations with the United States in 1833. The Sultanate has neither political parties nor legislature, although the bicameral representative bodies provide the government with advice. The sultan does not designate a successor when alive. Instead, the ruling family should unanimously designate a new sultan after his death. If they do not designate a new ruler after three days, then they open a letter left to them by the deceased sultan, containing a recommendation for a new sultan.

Current sultan of Oman, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id Al ‘Bu Sa’id holds an extraordinary amount of power. Along with his position as sultan, he is prime minister, defense minister, finance minister, foreign affairs minister and chair of the central bank. Moreover, Qaboos has only a few family members in his cabinet and the offices they hold are considered quite powerless. His cousin Haythim for example, is minister of national heritage and culture while his uncle, Shabib is special advisor for environmental affairs. This style of governance has implications as none of his family members have acquired the necessary administrative skills to rule Oman after Qaboos death.[1]

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