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Political Conditions

The UAE is considered to be one of the most open and modern states in the Middle East. Read more about the political conditions in the UAE here  

The government type in the UAE is referred to as a federal presidential elected monarchy, as monarchs who rule each of the seven emirates elect the president. Each emirate has its own local government, and municipal governments.

Since 2004, the Head of State is President Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan (Sheikh of Abu Dhabi) and Prime Minister (Head of Government) is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Sheikh of Dubai). The Deputy Prime Ministers are Saif bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan and Mansur bin Zayid Al-Nuhaayan.  

Executive body
The highest constitutional authority in the UAE is the Federal Supreme Council (FSC), which establishes general policies, sanctions, federal legislation and elects the President. The FSC is composed by the seven rulers of each of the seven emirates. They meet four times per year and at a four-year interval they meet to reaffirm the President or elect a new one. The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai have effective veto power when it comes to the election of the President (the last presidential election was held in 2009). The prime minister and deputy prime ministers are appointed by the president.

Although the UAE has the FSC that is in charge of the common political decisions, there is a great deal of autonomy left to the individual seven emirates. The Emirates run their own administrations and their combined budgets exceed the federal budget significantly. There are close ties between the emirates and the smaller, less affluent emirates, rely heavily on financial support from Abu Dhabi. 

Legislative body and election
The FSC – the seven rulers of the seven Emirates – appoint 20 members to be part of the Federal National Council (FNC), who functions as the legislative body. Additionally 20 members are elected by the eligible voters to the FNC for a four year term.

CNN reported that almost 130,000 people were eligible to vote for the Federal National Council (FNC) in 2011, compared to only 6,500 people in 2006. However, only 28% (36,000) of those eligible to vote did so in 2011. The next election will be held on October 3rd 2015, with even more citizens eligible to vote.

The National Election Committee decides who can be characterized as eligible voters, and a list of requirements are published prior to the election. Each voter will lodge a ballot for only one candidate in their emirate. In the past two elections, the first being in 2006, voters could vote for up to four candidates, depending on the number of seats their emirate held on the council. The elections are thus not based on a party system, but on individual candidates, since political parties in the UAE are forbidden.

Judicial and legal system
The legal system of the UAE is based on a dual system of Sharia and civil courts. The judiciary's independence is guaranteed by the Constitution of the UAE, and it includes the Supreme Court and the Courts of First Instance. Judges are appointed by the president.

Tolerant and stable market
The UAE is not only an attractive investment market because of its political stability, but also for their open minded and tolerant culture compared with their neighbouring countries.

Currently, it is seen that the government is cracking down heavily on the conservatively Islamic organisation, Al Islah. Al Islah has a desire to reform the UAE into a more conservatively Islamic country, which eventually would make the UAE to a less attractive investment market and tourist destination. Therefore, the government have treated the members of the organisation hard and banished it in the UAE.

In the last decades, and especially the last few years, the UAE have increased their income since many companies have moved their location to the UAE instead of other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This is due to the revolutionary wave of demonstrations, protest and wars, which began in late 2010, referred to as the Arab Spring. The UAE government have managed to remain free of the riots related to the Arab Spring.

The UAE as part of the GCC
The UAE is part of the political and economic union; Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf and located on or near the Arabian Peninsula. Currently the GCC includes six member states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. As a part of the GCC union, the UAE and the other member states, appear to lead a comprehensive policy together, opposite to turbulent countries as Syria and Yemen.