Introduction

This section was written before the promulgation of a new Basic Statute of the State by Royal Decree No 6/2021 by His Majesty Sultan Haitham on January 11th, 2021. It will be updated shortly.

The Basic Statute of the State is Oman’s constitution.

Promulgated by Royal Decree by His late Majesty Sultan Qaboos in 1996, it sets out the legal framework for the development and implementation of all legislation and government policy.

The Basic Statute officially and formally makes ‘Shura’ the founding principle of Omani political life.

Emblem

Shura

‘Shura’ is the system that embodies a process of participation and consultation

The ‘Shura’ system is based on a long-standing and deeply-rooted tradition among Omanis in the context of their lives and their social relationships.

‘Shura’ originated in small tribal and village communities, where formal and informal processes made sure the whole community could play an active role in the making of key decisions.

The Basic Statute ensures the principle of ‘Shura’ is reflected in the nation that Oman has become. It allows ‘Shura’ to develop new institutions and processes, making sure that traditions of participation and consultation are maintained and can be used to ensure the democratic development of the country in the modern world.

Council of Oman

The Basic Statute therefore establishes the Council of Oman (Majlis Oman). This is made up of two chambers: Majlis A’Shura which is directly elected and Majlis A’Dawla which is appointed.

The Basic Statute also makes the free market the basis of Oman’s economic system and formally establishes basic human rights as part of the constitution.

These rights include free speech, freedom of assembly, and equality before the law, as well as the right to private property and personal privacy, freedom of religion and gender equality.

The Basic Statute also establishes the independence of the judiciary and is the ultimate point of reference for judicial authority.