Oman does not have a constitution, but the Basic Law, which was promulgated by royal decree in 1996, is considered by the government to be a constitution. The monarch is both head of state and head of government. The bicameral legislature consists of the 58-seat Majlis al-Dawla, or upper house, whose members are appointed by the monarch, and the 84-seat Majlis al-Shura, or lower house, whose members are popularly elected to serve four-year terms. Though its influence was increased in 2011, the legislature is mainly an advisory body. Administratively, the country is divided into five regions and four governorates.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.