Following a royal decree issued yesterday, the Sultan of Oman Haitham Bin Tariq has announced a new Basic Law which will see the appointment of the sultanate’s first-ever Crown Prince. According to the Times of Oman, it will ensure a stable mechanism for the transfer of governing authority in the country. The report did not however reveal who would be appointed to this role.
The constitutional shakeup will also emphasise the principle of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and will include new rules on how parliament will function. More freedoms and rights for Omani citizens ensured by the state are also to be expected as part of the reforms.
Sultan Haitham came to power early last year following the death of his long-standing predecessor, the late Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who did not leave behind an heir apparent, naming his cousin as his preferred successor in a sealed envelope opened after his death. In a cabinet reshuffle last August, Sultan Haitham appointed Badr Al-Busaidi as the country’s new foreign minister, a position which was also simultaneously held by Sultan Qaboos.
The announcement comes as the cash-strapped sultanate is looking to raise up to $2 billion with a loan arranged mostly by local and regional lenders. In October, Muscat received $1 billion in financial aid from Qatar in an effort to offset its economic crisis fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic and a fall in oil revenues.
Last month, Sultan Haitham formally approved the country’s Vision 2040 which is expected to take effect later this year. It was first unveiled by his predecessor in 2018 as the sultanate seeks to join the ranks of the world’s most developed nations and towards a knowledge-based, post-oil economy.