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PROFILE-Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said

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OMAN-LEADER (PROFILE)

Position: Sultan

Incumbent: Qaboos bin Said

Date of Birth: November 18, 1940

Term: Monarchy, in position since July 1970

Key Facts:

-- He became Sultan in July 1970 after deposing his father in a palace coup with the aim of ending the country's isolation and using its oil revenue for modernisation and development.

-- Sultan Qaboos exercises absolute power in a country where political parties are banned.

-- Oman has been ruled by the al-Said family since 1744 and has longstanding military and political ties with the United States and Britain, although it maintains an independent foreign policy.

-- Qaboos appoints cabinet members and in 1992 he allowed the creation of a quasi-parliament, the Shura Council, whose 84 members are elected by constituents in 61 districts. But the assembly only advises and has no legislative powers.

-- There is concern in the population about succession in the country, as there is no heir apparent or any clear legislation on who may be the next Sultan.

-- He is looking to redirect subsidies without weakening the living standards of low and middle-income earners.

-- Protesters have complained about corrupt ministers, high unemployment and the lack of a parliament with legislative powers. About 70 percent of the population are Omani nationals.

-- The Sultan attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England.


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