Sultan Haïtham bin Tariq Al Said announces new laws, including rules on the functioning of Parliament.
The Sultan of Oman has announced a constitutional upheaval that includes the appointment of a crown prince for the first time and new rules on how parliament works.
A new basic law released on Monday by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said also emphasizes the role of the state in ensuring more rights and freedoms for citizens – including equality between men and women. women, the official ONA news agency said.
“The most important [element] … Sets up a specific and stable mechanism to [the] transfer of government authority and mechanism for appointing a crown prince, ”said a royal decree read on national television.
According to the Omani constitution, the royal family must determine the successor of a sultan within three days of the vacancy of the throne. If the family does not agree on a successor, a person chosen by the Sultan will be appointed.
The Sultan must be a member of the royal family, as well as “Muslim, mature, rational and legitimate son of Omani Muslim parents”.
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq came to power a year ago after the death of his predecessor, Sultan Qaboos.
Qaboos did not have a crown prince and named his preferred successor in a sealed envelope to be opened after his death if the royal family disagreed on the line of succession. The family made their choice.
The Basic Law defines the mechanisms for appointing a crown prince and his functions.
The ONA report did not say who would become the new crown prince or provide any other details.
It also establishes the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary as the basis of governance in the Arab Gulf State, a small oil producer and regional ally of the United States.
Second decree on Parliament
A separate decree created a new law for Parliament – the Bicameral Council of Oman. The published text indicates that changes to the membership conditions and board mandate have been made, but no further details have been given.
Oman, which saw similar protests in the Arab Spring in 2011 against unemployment, corruption and political reform, does not tolerate political parties or other forms of political representation.
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq rocked the government and state entities and decided to enact a long-awaited tax reform since coming to power, appointing finance and foreign ministers and a central bank president – portfolios held by the late sultan.
Oman’s finances have been hit by low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. Rated under investment grade by all major credit rating agencies, it faces a growing deficit and large debt maturities over the next few years.
The new Basic Law creates a committee under the aegis of the Sultan to assess the performance of ministers and other officials, and provisions to support the state’s financial and administrative control body.
In October last year, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq approved a medium-term fiscal plan to make public finances sustainable.