Governance & Politics of Oman
The Sultan is the Executive. He is also Prime Minister, and Minister of Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Finance. The Legislative is formed by the bicameral Majlis Oman: the State Council (Majlis al-Dawla), appointed by the Sultan, and a Consultative Council (Majlis al-Shura), elected by the people.
In the judicial field, the civil courts are divided into four departments. Criminal courts handle cases under the penal code. Sharia (Islamic law) courts oversee personal status and family law issues. Commercial courts adjudicate business and commercial matters, and labour courts oversee labour and employment cases. There are no political parties. There is an administrative subdivision of the country into nine governorates and regions and 61 districts (wilayat).
The chief of state was Sultan and Prime Minister Qaboos bin Said Al Said, from 23 July 1970 untill his death 10 January 2020. The monarch is both chief of state and head of government. The cabinet is appointed by the monarch. The monarchy is hereditary.
Without progeny, in 1996 Qaboos amended the Basic Law, determining that upon his decease his family should choose a male descendant of Turki bin Said, Sultan of Muscat and Oman from 1871-1888, as his successor. In case of disagreement, Qaboos has drawn up a document stating the name of his preferred choice.
Governorates and Regions
The Governorate of Dhofar is in the far south and borders on the Wusta Region to the east, the Arabian Sea to the south, Yemen to the west, and Saudi Arabia to the north and north-west. The Governorate of Musandam lies in the extreme north, separated from the rest of the country by a strip of land belonging to the United Arab Emirates. It is distinguished by its strategic location, with part of it known as Ras Musandam overlooking the important international sea passage of the Strait of Hormuz. The part suitable for sea navigation falls within the territorial waters of the Sultanate, which has required Oman to shoulder a large responsibility in organizing navigation in this strait. It has become a crossing point for 90 percent of the Persian Gulf’s oil, which is shipped all over the world. The Governorate of Buraymi is situated in the north-west corner of the Sultanate, adjacent to the border with the United Arab Emirates. It has a number of historic forts and houses.
The Batina Region occupies a coastal strip along the Gulf of Oman. The Zahira Region is a semi-desert plain which slopes from the southern foot of the Hajar Mountains towards the Empty Quarter. It is separated from the Dakhiliya Region by the Kur Mountains to the east; it joins the Empty Quarter (al-Rub al-Khali) from the west and the Wusta Region from the south. The Dakhiliya Region is rich in economic and natural resources.
The Sharqiya Region forms the north-east coast of Oman and overlooks the Arabian Sea. The city of Sur is one of the regional centres and the most important of al-Sharqiya cities. It played a historical role in trade and navigation in the Indian Ocean. It was known for ship building. The Wusta Region is situated to the south of both the Dakhiliya and Zahira Regions. It includes a large central area of the Sultanate and is distinguished by having a great number of oil wells.
Candidates for the Consultative Council compete individually for the seats. Despite the ban on political parties and thus on parliamentary groups within the Consultative Council, there are lobby groups based on shared interests. However, they only have very limited power in influencing national policy. The Consultative Council cannot initiate any legislation.
During the elections in October 2007, none of the twenty female candidates were elected. Elections for the Shura Council were renewed on 25 October 2015. Of the 56 women candidates, only one won a sit.[/fusion_text][/two_third]
Royal Army of Oman
Oman has tended to position itself as a mediator of regional conflicts, and generally avoids joining other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council in regional military interventions.
It has also been a strategic partner of the United States (US) since 1980, hosting US forces during every US military operation in the region since then.
In 2019, 9Oman ranked 82 out of 137 countries included in the annual GFP review. That year, the number of people who reached military age was estimated at 61,194 personnel, while military expenditure was estimated at $6.7 billion.
In 2018, military expenditure accounted for 8.2 per cent of GDP, compared with 9.6 per cent in 2017 and 12 per cent in 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
|Index||Number||Rank out of 137|
|Total military personnel||42,500||-|
|Total aircraft strength||175||54|
|Total helicopter strength||47||57|
|Armoured fighting vehicles||735||62|
|Total naval assets||16||-|
Oman’s military strength in 2019. Source: GFP review.
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