Oman is a monarchy. The Sultan of Oman is the head of the government. The Sultan is responsible for internal security, defence, finance and oil affairs. The government includes the Council of Ministers, the National Defence Council and the National Development Council. The policies are formed based on personal discussions between the Sultan and the ministers.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said is currently the head of the government.
The parliament of Oman is known as the Majles and is bicameral . It consists of 72 members. At present, women make up 19.44% of the total members. The 72 members are elected for a term of four years.
The Consultative Council was established in 1981, which provides Oman’s citizens with the opportunity to participate in government.
According to the Economic Freedom Index 2011, Oman is the 34th freest economy in the world with an economic freedom score of 69.8. Compared to last year the total freedom score increased by 2.1 points. It shows there have been improvements in business freedom, monetary freedom and government spending.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey conducted to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. According to 2010 results, Oman is ranked 41st on this list with a score of 5.3 which indicates that the corruption level in public departments in Oman is moderate.
Oman's ranking in the CPI index slipped from 39th in 2009 to 41st by the end of 2010 reflecting a rise in the level of corruption in Oman.
Freedom of information
Oman is ranked 124th in the World Press Freedom Index 2010 with a score of 40.25. It indicates that the freedom of the media in Oman is limited.
The press act empowers the government to censor publications for political or cultural reasons.
The main newspapers circulating in Oman include:
- Oman Daily
- Oman Observer
- Times of Oman
- Muscat Daily
Islamic Sharia law is the basis for Oman legislation. The various judicial authorities of the nation include:
The Supreme Judicial Council - The Supreme Judicial Council creates the general judicial policies. It monitors the legal procedures, judicial appointments and promotions. It ensures the independence of the judiciary. It also monitors the work of the courts and the public prosecutor's office. It is mainly involved in proposing laws on judicial issues and provides suggestions on the judicial co-operation agreements with other states.
(Source: omanet.om, mofa.gov.om)
The Supreme Court- It is the apex court in Oman, headed by the president of the Supreme Court. It looks after appeals and the implementation of laws from court decisions. The Judiciary’s Administrative Affairs Council monitors every aspect of personnel affairs and is headed by the President of the Supreme Court.
The Courts of First Instance - It looks after civil and commercial cases, personal status cases and other cases including labour, tax, rent and requests for arbitration.
The Courts of Appeal - It decides on the disputed rulings delivered by the Courts of First Instance. They are situated in Muscat, Nizwa, Salalah, Sohar, Ibra and Ibri.
The Notary-Public Departments - It ensures smooth functioning of the legal transactions. It attests signatures and produces documents and deeds including marriage documents, divorce certificates, widowhood confirmation documents and other papers. It confirms the dates on unofficial documents and papers.
The Administrative Court - It delivers rulings on the administrative disputes and hears the claims filed by the employees against their departments. It ensures the rulings are in accordance with terms of the law.
(Source: omanet.om, omanet.om, mofa.gov.om)