What Type Of Government Does Oman Have?

The Palace of the Sultan of Oman.
The Palace of the Sultan of Oman.

The Sultanate of Oman is an Arab nation located on the Arabian Peninsula. The Sultanate runs on an absolute monarch system of governance with the leadership vested on a hereditary sultan who has dominion over the legislature, executive, and the judiciary branches of government.

Basic Statute of Oman

The Basic Statute of Oman or the Basic Statute of the State is the supreme law of the Sultanate of Oman. The Basic Statute is the equivalent of a constitution and is the most important aspect of the Omani legal system. The Basic Statute was adopted in 1996 and has only undergone a single amendment in 2011 during the 2011 Arab Spring. The Basic Statute provides for several rights of residents of Oman including the forbidding of any discrimination based on gender, color, language, origin, sect, or social status.


The country is a sultanate with a Sultan who is the head of government and wields all executive authority. The Sultan is the leader of the government, supreme leader of the armed forces and head of state, and comes from the House of Al Bu Said. All sultans in Oman history are direct descendants of Ahmad bin Said Al Bu Said. Apart from being the leader of the monarch, the Sultan is also the prime minister of the council of ministers, the finance minister, defense minister, foreign affairs minister and chairman of the Central Bank. These positions are the most influential in government, and all the other ministries are headed by members of his family. The Sultan has the power to appoint or dismiss a cabinet minister. The current cabinet has 30 members and has two women cabinet ministers. While the law provides that the Sultan is succeeded by his direct heir, the current Sultan has none. In the event of the death of the Sultan, the ruling family has the authority to unanimously choose the Sultan’s successor. However, if the family fails to name a new Sultan within three days after the death of the Sultan, they are required to read a letter written by the deceased ruler with recommendations for a new ruler.

Council of Oman

The legislative branch of the Sultanate of Oman is the Council of Oman which has two chambers (bicameral) parliament featuring the Council of State of Oman and the Consultative Assembly of Oman. The Council of State is the upper house of the legislature and has 83 members. All members of the Council of State are appointed by the Sultan and serve four-year terms. The other chamber is the Consultative Assembly which is the lower house of the legislature. The Consultative Assembly is comprised of 84 members all of whom are democratically elected and serve four-year terms. The members of the assembly are drawn from the provinces where provinces with a population exceeding 30,000 having two members while the provinces with less than 30,000 residents have one member. The Consultative Assembly is mandated to amend or approve laws drafted by the Council of Minister.

Judicial System

The Sultanate of Oman has an integrated judicial system which is regulated by Royal Decree. The role of the judicial system is the administration of justice in Oman. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial office in Oman. Other court levels include the Court of Appeal, the Elementary Court, and the Administrative Court.


More in Politics