United Arab Emirates flag United Arab Emirates: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of the United Arab Emirates

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (since May 2022)
Prime Minister and Vice-President: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (since January 2006)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: n/a
Federal National Council (FNC): October 2027
Current Political Context
The UAE has enjoyed a rather stable general political situation despite continuous tensions with Iran and Qatar, as well as the crisis in Lebanon and the conflict in Yemen. In recent years, the UAE normalized its relations with Israel under the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords, becoming the third Middle Eastern country to recognize the country along with Egypt and Jordan. Nevertheless, the conflict in Gaza may jeopardize the progress made in this sense. With regard to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the UAE maintained its neutrality.
Following the death of Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his half-brother Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been officially nominated president of the UAE after ruling de facto the country since his brother suffered a stroke in 2014. In March 2023, the leader of the UAE appointed his eldest son as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, positioning him as the probable successor to the presidency of the Federation.
Among the most important political and economic decisions of 2023, was the introduction of a 9% corporate income tax rate, which became effective as of 1 June 2023. Finally, the UAE hosted the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) between November and December 2023, which put the country in the world’s focus.
Main Political Parties
There are no political parties in the UAE.
Executive Power
Each Emirate is governed by an Emir and has its own administration. Every Emir manages his Emirate's resources autonomously.
The Federal Supreme Council, composed of the 7 emirate rulers, is the highest authority of the UAE and holds legislative and executive powers. The Emir of Abu Dhabi, the biggest oil producing Emirate, was elected President of the UAE in 2004, succeeding his father. The Emir of Dubai has been nominated Vice-President and Prime Minister.
Legislative Power
There is only one Chamber: the Federal National Council. It consists of 40 members of which 20 are appointed by the rulers of the seven Emirates, and 20 are indirectly elected, whereby each Emirate has a number of representatives equivalent to its demographic weight. Their mandate is for four years. This council has only consultative functions.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
131/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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Latest Update: June 2024

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