Oman Government and Politics
State and politics
According to AllCityCodes.com, 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 not allowed.
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 certain crimes.
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 “inappropriate” pages.
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 prohibited.
Heads of State
Sultans after independence 1951
|1951-70||Said ibn Taymur *|
|1970-2020||Qabus ibn Said|
|2020||Haitham bin Tariq al-Said|
* Said ibn Taymur became a sultan as early as 1932.