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LEGISLATION AND LEGITIMATION IN OMAN: THE BASIC LAW

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When Sultan Qabus issued Decree 101 on November 6, 1996, Oman was the last Arab country to implement a constitutional document. However, the political impact of this document is controversial: Whereas some consider the Basic Law a step towards democratization, others see merely a continuation of traditional policies. In this article I investigate the innovative potential of the Basic Law. Against the background of Omani and regional history and European and Islamic constitutional thought, I review the Decree with regard to authority and legitimation. I suggest that the law is mainly symbolic in character. It exploits tribal and Islamic concepts to create a historically unfounded notion of a homogeneous state. The civil liberties it grants do not extend to the public sphere. I conclude that Oman's Basic Law does nothing more than to freeze the status quo, according to which the Sultan remains the only recognized authority in the state.

Affiliations: 1: University of Hamburg

10.1163/156851900507689
/content/journals/10.1163/156851900507689
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/content/journals/10.1163/156851900507689
2000-10-01
2016-12-09

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