State and politics
Oman is governed by a sultan who has absolute power,
legislates through decrees, appoints the government and is
himself prime minister as well as foreign, defense and
finance minister. In 1981, an advisory assembly was
established, which in 1991 was transformed into a council (Majlis
al-Shura) with representatives from Oman's 59
districts. The Council has 84 representatives. There is also
an upper house, Majlis al-Dawla, whose 83 members
are appointed directly by the sultan. Political parties are
When the sultan Qabus ibn Said deposed his father in
1970, Oman was isolated and completely in the hands of the
former sultan, who did not allow any development or
modernization. Thanks to oil revenues, a cautious
development and opening of the country began. Oman is a
member of GCC but also has working relations with Iran.
The legal system is largely based on Islamic law, but
both English and French law have served as a model for the
modern legislation that Oman introduced in the economic
field in the early 1970s. The death penalty is punished for
Oman has shortcomings in the area of human rights and the
country is still an authoritarian state. But according to
data from human rights organizations, some improvements have
been made in recent times. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of OM and its meanings of Oman.
The Arab Spring also reached Oman and in 2011, the
country was hit by violent confrontations between government
forces and protesters as several casualties were harvested.
The reason for the demonstrations at that time was mainly
socio-economic ill-treatment and high youth unemployment.
Former Sultan Qabus ibn Said then promised democratic
reforms and the demonstrations slowed down.
The right to freedom and personal security is not fully
respected. Arbitrary detention is prohibited by law, but in
practice the situation is different. There are reports that
prisoners accused of violating the country's security are
kept in isolation without the possibility of communicating
with the outside world and the authorities are intercepting
both oral and written communication, such as mobile phones
and e-mail. The Internet is censored by blocking
Self-censorship is common among journalists because
freedom of speech and freedom of expression is limited.
Criticism against the Sultan is prohibited by law and the
Ministry of Information previews all printed media. In the
2015 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without
Borders, Oman is ranked 127 out of 180 countries, which is a
slight improvement from the previous year.
Although the country's constitution prohibits
discrimination on grounds of gender, the situation of women
is problematic. Female voting rights and the right to
education are required by law, but social constructions and
male dominance hamper women's participation in society and
the economy. Sharia law is applied in family law. Rape and
domestic abuse are not prohibited by law. Genital mutilation
occurs and is also not illegal. Sex and human trafficking in
women occurs as the country is both a destination and
transit country for trafficking.
Low penalties are a problem for the children's situation
in the country, since they are already penalized at the age
of nine (2011). The availability of services for disabled
children has also been neglected.
Homosexuality is legislated under a Sharia law and is
Heads of State
Sultans after independence 1951
||Said ibn Taymur *
||Qabus ibn Said
||Haitham bin Tariq al-Said
* Said ibn Taymur became a sultan as early as 1932.