Oman is an absolute monarchy, ruled by a sultan. The
country has no written constitution, but in 1996 the Sultan
issued a decree stating that the country is a hereditary,
absolute monarchy. Political parties are not allowed and the
country does not have parliament with legislative authority.
While Oman is not a democracy according to
internationally understood norms, the country has
established structures for consultation between the ruling
monarch and the people, in line with Islamic traditions and
Omani customs. The established advisory bodies have no
formal power, but facilitate consultations.
Oman's monarchy is a sultanate, and the sultan has
unlimited power. He himself represents the legislative as
well as the executive, and gives laws by decrees. The Sultan
is the Head of State and at the same time acts as Minister
of State, Foreign, Finance and Defense. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how OM can stand for Oman.
Oman is not a democracy and does not have an independent
parliament. The country, on the other hand, has two advisory
assemblies: One Council, Majlis al-Shura (the
"Consultation Council ") was established in 1991, and is
elected from 2000; from 2003 with universal suffrage. It has
84 representatives. The second, Majlis al-Dawla
("Cabinet"), consists of 83 members appointed by the sultan.
The government is regarded as an upper house; the
consultative council as a lower house. In the 2003
elections, all Omanis over 21 years were given the right to
vote, with the exception of members of the military and
security forces. Following an electoral reform in 2015, the
elections are controlled by the legal system.
To advise himself as head of state, the Sultan has a
ministerial council, Majlis al-Wuzara, with ten
The power in Oman is strongly centralized, linked to the
sultan. Regional and local government are also closely
linked to the Sultan as an institution; partly through
traditional representatives of the Sultan (Welsh)
and elected councils.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who came to power in 1970 and
ruled until his death in 2020, modernize Oman in a number of
areas, but the political system is still characterized by
Oman is divided into five regions (mintagat) and
three governorates (muhafazat), which again
consists of a total of 59 districts (wilayat). The
local government is taken care of by a combination of
representatives of the Sultan (Welsh) and local
Oman's legal practice is based on Islamic law through an
ibadi interpretation of sharia, which handles personal
matters. There are also civil and economic courts, as well
as courts that deal with criminal cases in the first
instance; then appeals courts and a Supreme Court. The
Supreme Court is headed by the Sultan.
Disputes that cross the tribes are dealt with by tribal
leaders, while disputes between social groups are dealt with
by a governor after consultation with an Islamic judge.