There are seven Emirates in the UAE, each headed up by a different ruler
UAE government officials
Federal Supreme Council Members / UAE Rulers
Ruler of Abu Dhabi: HH President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan
Ruler of Dubai: HH Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum
Ruler of Sharjah: HH Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed al-Qasimi
Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah: HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi
Ruler of Fujairah: HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed al-Sharqi
Ruler of Umm al Quwain: HH Sheikh Saud bin Rashid al-Mu’alla
Ruler of Ajman: HH Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid al-Nuaimi
The Federal Supreme Council is the UAE’s chief decision-making body and is responsible for matters relating to foreign affairs and defence. The Supreme Council has both legislative and executive powers. It ratifies federal laws and drives policy.
The council is composed of the rulers of the seven emirates, who elect a president and vice-president from among themselves for a five-year renewable term. Each emirate has a single vote in the deliberations of the council. Decisions on substantive matters are made by a majority of five of its members, provided this includes the votes of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Council decisions on procedural matters need a majority vote.
The president appoints the prime minister, who heads the UAE cabinet, officially titled the Council of Ministers. The prime minister proposes a list of ministers, which is then ratified by the president. The cabinet is formed of the heads of the government ministries and currently consists of 22 members. It has executive authority to initiate and implement laws. It is a consultative assembly that can discuss and recommend government policy, but has no power of veto. The cabinet draws up the UAE’s annual budget.
Alongside the cabinet sits the 40-member Federal National Council (FNC). Previously, all members were nominated, but as part of a gradual reform process, the government allowed half the members to be elected in 2007. The electoral pool was small, however, with just 7,000 people allowed to vote. This is set to be opened up to 80,000 voters in September 2011, when 20 members stand for re-election.
The make-up of the FNC is proportionate to the size of each emirate’s population. Abu Dhabi and Dubai each have eight members, Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah have six and the smaller emirates occupy four seats each. Each emirate is free to determine the method by which it selects their representatives. The role of the FNC is as an advisory group, particularly on legislative matters. All draft laws have to pass through the FNC for discussion.
The final federal body specified in the UAE’s constitution is the Federal Judiciary, which consists of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Appeals Court and the Courts of First Instance. The Supreme Court consists of five judges appointed by the Supreme Council. These judges arbitrate between federal and emirate issues and also decide on the constitutionality of proposed laws.
As the UAE’s biggest and wealthiest emirate, the country’s president and leader of the Supreme Council has always been the ruler of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan was president of the UAE from 1971 to 2004. He was succeeded by his son Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who holds the role today. His brother, General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan is the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE. The prime minister is the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who succeeded his brother Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum in January 2006. He is also the vice-president of the UAE.
The seven emirates have considerable autonomy over their respective internal affairs. Although legislation is set at a federal level, the rulers also issue decrees at an emirate level, which then become local laws. Differences between laws in the various emirates can have a profound impact on the fabric of life and business in the UAE. Each ruler is supported by an Executive Council, a cabinet through which the emirate’s affairs are managed.
Ministry of Finance
Minister of Finance: HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum
Minister of State for Financial Affairs: HE Obaid Humaid Al-Tayer
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs: HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research: HE Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan
Ministry of Public Works
Minister of Public Works: HE Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan
Ministry of Foreign Trade
Minister of Foreign Trade: HE Sheikha Lubna Khalid Al-Qasimi
Ministry of Cabinet Affairs
Minister of Cabinet Affairs: HE Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gergawi
Ministry of Energy
Minister of Energy: HE Mohammed bin Dhaen Al-Hamli
Ministry of Economy
Minister of Economy: HE Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansouri
Ministry of Social Affairs
Minister of Social Affairs: HE Maryam Mohammed Khalfan Al-Roumi
Ministry of Education
Minister of Education: HE Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al-Qatami
Ministry of Health
Minister of Health: HE Hanif Hasan Ali
Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development
Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development: HE Abdulrahman Mohammed Al-Oweis
Ministry of Justice
Minister of Justice: HE Hadef Jawa’an Al-Dhaheri
Ministry of Environment and Water
Minister of Environment and Water: HE Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd
Ministry of Labour
Minister of Labour: HE Saqr Ighbash Saeed Ighbash
- Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs: HE Anwar Mohammed Qarqash (also Minister of State for Foreign Affairs)
- Minister of State: HE Maitha Salem Al-Shamsi
- Minister of State: HE Reem Ibraheem Al-Hashemi
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