Politics of the United Arab Emirates

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United Arab Emirates
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Politics of the United Arab Emirates takes place in a framework of a federal presidential republic, a federation of seven absolute monarchies, the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Qaiwain. The ruler of Abu Dhabi is President of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai is the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, the head of government.

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[edit] Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan 3 November 2004
Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum 5 January 2006

Administratively, the UAE is a federation of seven emirates, each with its own ruler. The pace at which local government in each emirate evolves from traditional to modern is set primarily by the ruler. Under the provisional constitution of 1971, each emirate reserves considerable powers, including control over mineral rights (notably oil) and revenues. In this milieu, federal powers have developed slowly. The constitution established the positions of president (chief of state) and vice president, each serving 5-year terms; a Council of Ministers (cabinet), led by a prime minister (head of government); a supreme council of rulers; and a 40-member National Assembly, a consultative body whose members are appointed by the emirate rulers. Shaikh Zayyed bin Sultan Al Nahyyan was president of the UAE from its foundation until his death on 2nd November 2004. His eldest son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, is the current president. The federation has a Federal Supreme Council. The Supreme Council consists of the individual rulers of the seven emirates. The President and Vice-President are elected by the Supreme Council every five years. Although unofficial, the Presidency is de facto hereditary to the Al-Nahyan clan of Abu Dhabi and the Premiership is hereditary to the Al-Maktoom clan of Dubai. The Supreme Council also elects the Council of Ministers, while an appointed 40-member Federal National Council, drawn from all the emirates, reviews proposed laws.

[edit] Politics

The relative political and financial influence of each emirate is reflected in the allocation of positions in the federal government. The ruler of Abu Dhabi, whose emirate is the UAE's major oil producer, is president of the UAE. The ruler of Dubai, which is the UAE's commercial center and a significant oil producer, is vice president and prime minister.

Since achieving independence in 1971, the UAE has worked to strengthen its federal institutions. Nonetheless, each emirate still retains substantial autonomy, and progress toward greater federal integration has slowed in recent years. A basic concept in the UAE Government's development as a federal system is that a significant percentage of each emirate's revenues should be devoted to the UAE central budget.

[edit] Parliament

Though the United Arab Emirates have a kind of parliament, there will be elections in the United Arab Emirates. The Federal National Council (Majlis Watani Ittihad) has 40 members, representing the Emirates, half appointed by the rulers of the constituent states and the other half to be elected to serve two-year terms, with only advisory tasks. The United Arab Emirates does not allow political parties. The first stage of elections are planned for December 16, 2006. [1]

[discuss] – [edit]
Composition of the U.A.E. Federal National Council
Parties Seats
Representatives of the Emirates 40
Total 40

[edit] Political parties and elections

The UAE has no political parties. There are steps toward democratic government: On December 1 2005, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan announced that half of the Federal National Council would be elected while the other half appointed by the rulers. This is assumed to be the first of many steps towards a democratic government. The rulers hold power on the basis of their dynastic position and their legitimacy in a system of tribal consensus. Rapid modernization, enormous strides in education, and the influx of a large foreign population have changed the face of the society but have not fundamentally altered this traditional political system.

[edit] Criticism from human rights groups

As of 2004, the governments of the United Arab Emirates have been accused by several human rights organisations of acting in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the country's failure to allow freedom of expression. The Barnabas Fund organization cites that the Dubai emirate removed the right of appeal against deportation by expatriates accused of so called religious crimes, such as trying to convert a Muslim to another religion. Amnesty International lists further problems relating to human rights on its website, such as the mass detainment of 250 persons related to the United States-led War on Terror, the ill treatment of prisoners in prison, and the continued use of flogging and the death penalty.

[edit] International organization participation

ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

[edit] External links

Politics of the United Arab Emirates

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