Oman/Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman
conventional short form: Oman
local long form: Saltanat Uman
local short form: Uman

Data code: MU

Government type: monarchy

Capital: Muscat

Administrative divisions: 6 regions (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah) and 2 governorates* (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah) Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, Al Wusta, Ash Sharqiyah, Az Zahirah, Masqat, Musandam*, Zufar*; note - the US Embassy in Oman says that Masqat is a governorate

Independence: 1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)

National holiday: National Day, 18 November (1940)

Constitution: none; note - on 6 November 1996, Sultan QABOOS issued a royal decree promulgating a new basic law which, among other things, clarifies the royal succession, provides for a prime minister, bars ministers from holding interests in companies doing business with the government, establishes a bicameral legislature, and guarantees basic civil liberties for Omani citizens

Legal system: based on English common law and Islamic law; ultimate appeal to the monarch; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: in Oman's most recent elections in 1997, limited to approximately 50,000 Omanis chosen by the government to vote in elections for the Majlis ash-Shura

Executive branch:
chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al Said (since 23 July 1970); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al Said (since 23 July 1970); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary

Legislative branch: bicameral Majlis Oman consists of an upper chamber or Majlis ad-Dawla (41 seats; members appointed by the monarch; has advisory powers only) and a lower chamber or Majlis ash-Shura (82 seats; members elected by limited suffrage, however, the monarch makes final selections and can negate election results; body has some limited power to propose legislation, but otherwise has only advisory powers)
elections: last held NA October 1997 (next to be held NA October 2000)
election results: NA

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, has non-Islamic judges; traditional Islamic judges and a nascent civil court system, administered by region

Political parties and leaders: none

International organization participation: ABEDA, AFESD, AL, AMF, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Abdallah bin Muhammad bin Aqil al-DHAHAB
chancery: 2535 Belmont Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-1980 through 1981, 1988
FAX: [1] (202) 745-4933

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John B. CRAIG
embassy: Jameat A'Duwal Al Arabiya Street, Al Khuwair area, Muscat
mailing address: international: P. O. Box 202, Code No. 115, Medinat Qaboos, Muscat
telephone: [968] 698989
FAX: [968] 699779

Flag description: three horizontal bands of white, red, and green of equal width with a broad, vertical, red band on the hoist side; the national emblem (a khanjar dagger in its sheath superimposed on two crossed swords in scabbards) in white is centered at the top of the vertical band