Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oman's Shura Council

Later this month, Oman will hold elections for its shura council. This body, however, has far less power and is certainly less effective than the elected legislatures of Kuwait, Bahrain, and even Qatar. I think Ta'iba al-Ma'awali has it right:
"Activist and former Shura member Taiba al-Maawli says that the Council’s presidency is an obstacle to its development, and that the government should grant the Council political and financial independence. Having served two consecutive terms in 1994-1999, she argues that the Council has not only not gained power since then but has regressed. She says that the Council’s role is not even truly consultative; the government refers proposed laws and projects to the Council merely to inform rather than to consult it. Al-Maawli is not optimistic about the upcoming term, because although the Shura Council has the right to express its views, those views are simply ignored. The Council is paralyzed, unable to legislate or hold anyone to account. Al-Maawli believes the Council will not have any role unless there are external pressures affecting economic interests."



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