Omani Sultan Announces Major Constitutional Changes
Oman Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said on Monday issued a new basic law, reshaping the Gulf nation’s governing structure and introducing a formal set mechanism for appointing successors to the throne. Oman’s state news agency reported that the constitutional amendments will also award more rights and basic freedoms to citizens, especially women, though no specifics were revealed. The sultan will now be charged with appointing an official crown prince, a significant change from Oman’s previous constitution, which allowed the royal family to elect an heir only following the sultan’s vacating the throne, or the sultan himself to name his successor in a sealed envelope opened only after his death. Bin Tariq’s monumental shake-up also establishes a new oversight committee tasked with supervising senior government officials, in an effort to promote transparency and public trust. The current sultan emerged last year as Oman’s leader after intense palace drama, and has since pushed forward with the efforts of his predecessor, Qaboos bin Said, to lift the sultanate into modernity while navigating the political backlash.