Traveling in Oman
Politics in Oman
Oman is an Arab and Islamic state. Therefore, many views and ways of life refer to the Koran, the holy scripture of the Muslims, and Sharia law is used as a legal basis. The head of state of Oman is Sultan Qaboos ibn Said Al Said. The Sultan represents the executive, the judiciary and the legislature and therefore has all the power. However, the Omanis do not see the Sultan as an absolutist ruler, but much more as a father who has shown them the way to a new era, to freedom and to the modern age. There are no parties or a parliament in the Omani government. Sultan Qaboos combines traditional Islamic rule with modern views. He is assisted by a Cabinet of Ministers, Secretaries of State and Special Advisory Councils appointed by him. He himself holds the office of Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Defense Minister and Finance Minister. The Sultan cultivates a special relationship with his people and travels through the country every year, inviting them to audiences. If citizens have a problem, they can go directly to the Sultan and the minister responsible for this so-called “Meet the People Tour”. Since 1991, there is also an advisory body consisting of representatives of the people who examine the ministries and the bills. Oman is well on the way to becoming an Islamic democracy. In 1996, the Omani constitution, consisting of 81 articles, was proclaimed. In it, the aspects of the state apparatus and the succession to the throne are regulated. It forms the basis of social and political stability in the country and guarantees the rights and freedoms of every individual. The government has also been expanded by a State Council to promote cooperation between the people and the government.
Oman is divided into three government districts (Muscat, Dhofar and Musandam) and 44 municipal districts. Representatives of the community represent the link between tradition and modern administration. They make major decisions, coordinate government affairs in their district, forward the concerns of the tribes, and consult with the Ministry of the Interior. The legislation and jurisdiction of the Sultanate are based on Islamic law, Sharia law. The country has nearly 50 Sharia courts for civil and criminal trials, one Supreme Court in Muscat, appeals courts and regional courts. Murder and serious crimes such as drug trafficking are punishable by death.
The Sultanate of Oman was in isolation for more than 100 years. When Sultan Qaboos took power in 1970, his reforms helped to reduce the isolation of the country. The Sultan established good relations with his neighboring countries and the western industrialized countries. For Qaboos, this is a sign of the pursuit of world peace and international understanding. Today, Oman is a member of organizations such as the UN, the Arab League, and others. The state has diplomatic relations with over 120 countries.