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Friday, January 7, 2011

Political system in UAE

To ensure effective governance of the United Arab Emirates after its establishment in 1971, the rulers of the seven emirates that comprise the Federation agreed to draw up a provisional Constitution specifying the powers allocated to the new federal institutions. As in many federal structures around the world, certain powers remained the prerogative of each of the individual emirates, which already had their own governing institutions prior to the establishment of the Federation.
Under Articles 120 and 121 of the Constitution, the areas under the purview of the federal authorities are foreign affairs, security and defence, nationality and immigration issues, education, public health, currency, postal, telephone and other communications services, air traffic control and licensing of aircraft, in addition to a number of other sectors specifically prescribed, including labour relations, banking, delimitation of territorial waters and extradition of criminals. All other matters were left to the jurisdiction of the individual emirates and their local governments. In May 1996, the Federal Supreme Council – comprising of the rulers of the seven emirates – approved two amendments to the provisional Constitution and agreed to make it permanent.
A closer look at the working of the federal and local governments, both separately and combined, underlines the UAE’s unique amalgamation of the traditional and modern political systems that have guaranteed national stability and laid the foundation for development.
At present, the federal system of government includes the Supreme Council, the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), a parliamentary body in the form of the Federal National Council (FNC) and the Federal Supreme Court, which is representative of an independent judiciary. The Supreme Council elects a president and vice-president from amongst them to serve for a renewable five-year term in office. Accordingly, the Supreme Council re-elected President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for another five-year term in November 2009.
The Supreme Council, comprising the rulers of the seven emirates, has both legislative and executive powers. It ratifies federal laws and decrees, plans general policy, approves the nomination of the prime minister and accepts his resignation. It also relieves him from his post upon the recommendation of the president.
The Council of Ministers, described in the Constitution as ‘the executive authority’ for the Federation, is headed by a prime minister, chosen by the president in consultation with the Supreme Council. The prime minister, currently also the vice-president, then proposes the Cabinet, which requires the president’s ratification.
In line with the UAE’s rapid socio-economic developments, major steps have been taken, both at the federal and local levels, to reform the political system in the UAE in order to make it more responsive to the needs of the country's population and to ensure that it is better equipped to cope with the challenges of development.
This process has been directed, at a federal level, by President Sheikh Khalifa and devised and guided at an executive level by UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Similar programmes have been launched at the local level in the individual emirates of the federation.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the richest nations in the Middle East with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, estimated to be Dh 61,000 ($ 16,610) in 2005 according to the UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The UAE has an open and liberal economy with no taxes on profits or incomes, complete freedom of capital movement, and 100 per cent foreign ownership allowed within free zones. The UAE Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at $ 98.1 billion in 2005, with GDP growth rate standing high at 8.8% per annnum. Oil and gas accounts for about 30% of GDP, while nonoil sector has shown an exponential growth, reaching 70% of GDP. That's why UAE economy proved to be less affected by the fluctuating oil prices in comparison to other Middle East countries.

The UAE Government has made successful efforts into developing alternatives to the oil industries. Policies have been made for land reclamation, development of industries, tourism, refining of oil, as well as creating international free trade zones. The UAE Government has been putting lots of money into infrastructural development and opening up its utilities to private sector involvement. There are substantial opportunities for doing business in the UAE. These factors combined with an easily accessible location and an extremely pleasant and safe working environment promise well for foreign investment in the country.

The UAE is a federation of seven independent emirates ruled by local emirs. Though there is no democracy in the country, citizens enjoy a relatively high freedom of speech but have no say on political issues. The highest federal authority is the Supreme Council of Rulers comprising the emirs of the seven Emirates. Policies made by the Supreme Council must have the agreement of at least five members, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The council appoints the President who serves a five-year term.
The UAE also has the Federal National Council, consisting of 40 members, appointed from each of the seven emirates. In addition, each emirate has its own local government, consisting of municipalities and departments. Local emirs are vested with significant powers so that each emirate retains a good deal of political and financial autonomy, a fact that has contributed significantly to the remarkable success of the federation. There is also an independent Federal Judiciary, consisting of the Federal Supreme Court and the Courts of First Instance. At present Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the UAE President, while Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE.


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