Country Governance

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POGAR > Countries > Oman In Brief

Basic Information

Country Flag:
Country Map: United Nations Maps: Oman
Country Name: Sultanate of Oman (Saltanat Uman)
Name of Capital City: Muscat
Date of Independence: In July 1970 Sultan Qaboos came to power and achieved full international recognition. The country’s name was changed from the Sultanate of Masqat and Oman to the Sultanate of Oman.

Administrative Divisions

Regions, Provinces or Governorates: 4 governorates (muhafazat): Masqat, Musandam, Zufar and Al Buraymi.
5 regions (mintaqat): Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, Al Wusta, Ash Sharqiyah, Az Zahirah.
Country Area (sq km): 309500
Population (million): 2.7 (2007)
Population, annual growth rate (%) 1975-2005: 3.4
Population, estimated growth rate (%) 2005-2015: 2.0

Political System

Type of State: Monarchy/unitary
Date of Constitution: The Basic Law was promulgated on November 6, 1996 by Royal Decree No. 101 of 1996.

Head of State

Type: The head of state is a hereditary Sultan.
Name of Current: Since July 23, 1970, the Sultan has been Qaboos bin Said Al Said.

Executive Branch

About: The Sultan also serves as the Prime Minister and presides over the Council of Ministers.
Name of Current: Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said is the current chief of state and government.

Legislative Branch

Type: Bicameral parliament
- Consultative Council [English][Arabic]
- Council of State [English][Arabic]


Suffrage: The minimum voting age is 21, lowered from 30 in the 2000 elections. Oman offered universal suffrage to men and women beginning in the 2003 elections.
- See Also: Oman - Election Calendar and Results

Human Development Indicators

Human development index (HDI): 0.846 (2007)
HDI rank (worldwide): 56 (2007)
Adult literacy rate (% aged 15 and older): 84.4 (2007)
Female secondary gross enrollment (%): 88 (2007)
Gross enrollment, tertiary level education (%): 25.5 (2007)
Life expectancy at birth (years): 11.137 (2010)
Poverty index (HP1-1) value (%): 14.7 (2007)
GDP per capita (PPP US$): 25652.914 (2010)
GDP per capita (PPP US$) rank minus HDI rank: -15 (2007)
* See more human development indicators on Arab Statistics (external link)

Judiciary Branch

Legal system and codification: Islamic Shari’a traditions of the Ibadi School.
Administration: Judicial matters are administered by the Ministry of Legal Affairs, which was established in 1994. The Sultan makes all judicial appointments.
Supreme Court: Decisions rendered by Courts of First Instance may be appealed to one of the six Appeals Courts in Muscat, which is composed of three qadis, or religious judges. The final appellate court is the Supreme Court, which is also charged with standardizing legal principles.
Constitutional Court:
Shari'a or Personal Status: All civil, criminal and commercial matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Courts of First Instance. Shari’a Courts have jurisdiction over matters of personal status and family law.

Membership in International Organizations

United Nations (UN): October 7, 1971
International Monetary Fund (IMF): December 23, 1971
World Trade Organization (WTO): November 9, 2000
Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC): Signed December 20, 2000; not yet ratified.
World Bank – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): December 23, 1971
World Bank – International Finance Corporation (IFC): February 20, 1973
World Bank – Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA): January 24, 1989
World Bank – International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): August 23, 1995

Ratification of International Conventions

- Human Rights Conventions
- International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions
- UN Conventions against Corruption and Transnational Organized Crime
- Environment Treaties