The ICL-edition of the Constitution 1996 ("White Book" in the form of a Basic Law) is based on the inofficial translation that used to be provided by the Omanet server.
The country is ruled by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. He established the current Constitution by Royal Decree on 6 Nov 1996. The constitution's bill of rights is unprecedented in the Gulf region. The same is true for the establishment of a Supreme Court to act as "guardian" and "interpreter" of the law. The Sultan wants to fully implement the Basic Law by 2000. The Council of Ministers (Art. 44 ff.) is the highest executive authority, but it derives its power from the Sultan who also authorizes all laws and decrees (Art. 42). The Constitution defines Oman as an Islamic State with the Islamic Shariah as the basis of legislation (Art. 2, cf. also Art. 10 and 11). A special feature is the long list of guidings principles (Art. 10 ff.). Since the legislative power resides in the monarch (Art. 42), the Oman Council (Art. 58) is an advisory institution rather than a full parliamentary body.
The 1991 establishment of a consultative council (majlis al-shura) failed to install a powerful institutions when the members were refused information after some embarassing televised enquiries of key ministers. Another issue is the gigantic Sultan Qaboos Mosque to be built outside the capital in spite of dwindling assets.
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