The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) is a federation of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Dubai, Ra's al Khaymah, Quwayn and Sharjah. These Emirates are absolute monarchies. Each one is governed by an Emir who controls its administration. Each Emir manages independently the resources of his Emirate.
The Federal Supreme Council (FSC) consisting of the seven Emirs is the highest constitutional authority in the United Arab Emirates; it holds both executive and legislature powers. The legislative authority called the Federal National Council (FNC) plays only an advisory role. Its members are appointed by the FSC to serve for a term of 2-years.
The participation of the citizens in the political activities is non-existent in the U.A.E. Since the creation of the federation in 1971, the FSC has not made any changes in its principle of delegation of powers within the federal government. The Emir of Abu Dhabi, the largest oil (petroleum) producing Emirate, was elected President of the U.A.E., and the Emir of Dubai, a commercial centre & a major oil producing Emirate, was appointed as the Vice-president and Prime Minister.
The federal legal system was introduced in 1971 which applies to all the Emirates except Dubai and Ra's al Khaymah. The main power of authority (particularly that related with business and companies) falls within the jurisdiction of the federal authorities; the national authorities are only authorized to issue decrees related to the local businesses. The classical Arabic is the official language of the courts but Arabic of the Gulf and the English language can be used in all federal courts. In the local courts only Arabic is used, but one can ask for an interpreter.
The United Arab Emirates is ruled by law and the level of corruption is low in the companies, the public administration and the judiciary system. Nevertheless, the legal system is not independent and the judiciary does not guarantee an impartial trial to a foreign national.
Major political parties
No political party exists in the U.A.E.
Major political leaders
President: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayyan (since November 2004)
Prime Minister: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (since January 2006)
Next political election dates
Presidential election: 2009
Appointment of the members of the Federal National Council: 2011