Oman to get its first crown Prince in constitutional shake up

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Oman’s sultan, Haitham bin Tariq Al Said on Monday announced a constitutional shake-up that includes the appointment of a crown prince for the first time and new rules on how Parliament will work.

A new basic law issued on Monday by Sultan also emphasizes the role of the state in guaranteeing more rights and freedoms for citizens including equality between men and women, Oman’s state media, ONA said.

According to the Omani constitution, the royal family must determine a sultan’s successor within three days of the throne falling vacant. If the family does not agree on a successor, a person chosen by the sultan will be named.

The sultan should be a member of the royal family, as well as “Muslim, mature, rational and the 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 should the royal family disagree on the succession line. The family went with his choice.

The basic law sets out mechanisms for the appointment of a crown prince and his duties.

The ONA report did not say who would become the new crown prince or provide other details.

It also sets the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary as the basis for governance in the Gulf Arab state, a small oil producer and a regional United States ally.

A separate decree created a new law for Parliament – the bicameral Council of Oman. The published text says changes to conditions of membership and the council’s terms of reference have been made, but no further details were given.

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq has shaken up the government and state entities and moved to enact long-awaited fiscal reform since taking power, appointing finance and foreign affairs ministers and a central bank chairman – portfolios held by the late sultan.

The new basic law creates a committee under the sultan to evaluate the performance of ministers and other officials, and provisions to support the state’s financial and administrative oversight body.

In October last year, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq approved a medium-term fiscal plan to make government finances sustainable.

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