The Council of Oman (Majlis Oman) is made up of member of the State Council (MajlisA'Dawla) and Consultation /Shura Council (MajlisA'Shura) as stipulated in Article 58 of the Basic Law of the State. It assists the government in drawing up the general policies of the state. The Council meets at the request of Sultan Qaboos to study and discuss matters raised by him taking all its decisions on the basis of a majority vote. Sultan Qaboos addresses all the members of this Council on an annual basis.
The two champers of Oman Council have been granted legislatives and auditing powers as per the Royal Decree No. 99/2011. The provisions of the legislatives and auditing powers are mentioned in section five of the Basic Statute of the State promulgated by the Royal Decree No: 101/1996, which has granted Oman Council a number of competences to achieve the following goals:
The Powers of the State Council
Article 18 of the Shura Council and Council of State internal law, declares that the Council of State undertakes all issues likely to assist in the implementation of the development plan and contribute to the entrenching of true Omani social values, while stressing the principle stipulated in the Basic Law. For the sake of achieving the council’s targets, Article 18 vested the following powers in the council:
- Prepare studies contributing to the implementation of development plans and programmes, and find suitable solutions to social and economic obstacles.
- Put forward suggestions to promote investment in various industries and services sectors, and develop economic resources.
- Put forward suggestions related to human resource development, and to the improvement of administration in line with the interests of society and the state’s general principles.
- Review draft laws before their dissemination, except for the laws to be submitted to His Majesty the Sultan for public interest. The Council of State submits to the Council of Ministers his recommendations on the draft laws.
- Look into matters referred to the Council of State by His Majesty the Sultan or the Council of Ministers, and give opinion on them.
The Council submits its recommendations regarding draft laws to the Council of Ministers, and its other proposals and surveys to His Majesty the Sultan and the Council of Ministers as necessary.
Members of the Council are chosen from the following categories of people:
- Former ministers and under-secretaries and those considered as such.
- Former ambassadors.
- Former senior judges.
- Senior retired officers.
- People with a reputation as experts in the fields of science and arts and professors at universities and higher education institutes.
- Prominent figures of the Omani society and businessmen.
- Personalities that have delivered significant services to the homeland.
- Those deemed by His Majesty the Sultan as suitable to be members, and who do not fall into the categories mentioned above.
Conditions of membership
The duration of membership in the Council of State is four years and can be renewed for other periods.
A member of the Council of State should meet the following conditions:
- Omani national by law.
- Not less than forty years of age.
- Have a good reputation and suitable expertise, while not having been subjected to criminal sanctions or condemned in a crime of breach of honor or trust, unless his dignity was restored.
In addition to the above rules of membership to the Council of State, joint membership to the Council of State and the Shura Council is banned. It is also not permitted to hold membership to the council and public service positions, except for the people who are prominent in their field in science and arts, professors at universities and higher education institutes, and the category of members deemed by the Sultan as suitable for the membership.
The Powers of the Shura Council
The legislative powers include:
- Referral of the bills which are prepared by the Government to the Oman Council in order to approve or amend them and refer them directly to His Majesty the Sultan for promulgation.
- The Council of Oman has the right to propose bills and then refer them to the government for study, and return them to the Council.
- Draft of development plans and the annual budget of the State shall be referred by the Council of Ministers to Shura Council for debate to put forward its recommendations within a maximum period of one month from the referral date and forward them to the State Council. The State Council will in turn debate and make its recommendations within a period of 15 days from the referral date. The Chairman of the State Council shall return them along with the recommendations of the two Councils to the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers shall inform the two Councils about the recommendations which have not been adopted along with the reasons.
- The draft economic and social agreements that the government intends to make or join shall be referred to the Shura Council for consideration and the Council shall submit its opinion and the conclusions reached to this effect to the Council of Ministers to take appropriate measures.
- The State Audit Institution shall send a copy of its annual report to the Council of Oman.
- Upon a signed request from a minimum of 15 members of the Council, the Shura Council can discuss any matters of violations and breach of law with any minister and submit the discussion results to HM the Sultan.
- The ministers shall submit an annual report to the Shura Council on the phases of projects implementation in their respective agencies and the Council reserves the right to call for a discussion with the ministers for clarifications.
The powers are defined according to the departments and the committees of the Council.
Taking into consideration the provisions of the Basic Statute of the State, the Council shall utilize a number of parliamentary means and tools to carry out its powers.
Candidacy and Membership
Representation of the Wilayat
The Shura Council comprises of 84 elected members representing all the Wilayats of the Sultanate. Memebrs of the Council shall be elected every four years. The number of the members depends on the density of population of each wilayat. A wilyaat whose population is less than 30,000 on the date of opening candidacy is represented by one member while the wilayat whose population exceeds that is represented by two members, as per the Elections Regulations of the Council. The new term starts after the inaugural session of the Council of Oman by His Majesty the Sultan.
Every Omani man or woman has the right to be a member in the Shura Council or vote for a member.
Conditions for candidacy to the membership of the Shura Council
- Should be an Omani national by origin.
- Should be 30 years old at the date of candidacy.
- should not have been sentenced against a felony or a crime impairing honor, even if has been rehabilitated.
- Educational background should not be less than the General Diploma of Education.
- Should be on the Electoral Register.
- Should not pertain to a military or security party.
- Should not have been sentenced to bankruptcy, unless being rehabilitated.
- Should not have been detained for a judicial verdict.
- Should not be mentally sick.
Conditions of eligibility of the Voter
- Should have completed twenty-one years of age on the first day of January of the year of elections.
- Should be on the Electoral Register. For registration, the voter should be one of the inhabitants of the wilayat or a resident according to the address on his identity card, or as per information on the Civil Register.
The term of membership lasts for four years, and it is renewable. It is not permissible to join the membership of the Shura or the State Council and public sector jobs. The duties of the member shall come into force as from taking the oath of office.
The Council shall elect the Chairman and the two Deputy Chairmen in an extraordinary sitting that precedes the convocation of the Council by His Majesty the Sultan for its inaugural session. The voting shall be by secret ballot and the majority of votes of the members of the Shura Council.