MUSCAT – Sultan Qaboos of Oman amended the process of choosing his successor, by appointing five top officials to a council that would be involved in confirming the new sultan to overcome any possible royal family dispute, the state-run Oman News Agency reported on Thursday.
The sultan allowed the ruling family to choose a successor for him in the event of a power vacancy.
If the family fails to agree on a new ruler, power will devolve to the person chosen by the Sultan himself, ONA said citing a decree from Qaboos.
“The ruling family council will determine the person to whom power should be transferred, within three days following the vacancy in the position of the Sultan,” ONA said.
“If the ruling family council cannot agree on choosing a sultan, the Defense Council, together with the presidents of the State Council, the president of the Shura Council, the chairman of the Higher Court and his two senior deputies, will confirm the person designated by the Sultan in his letter to the family council.”
Sultan Qaboos has also granted the newly elected house some legislative and regulatory powers which he had pledged to the advisory body, newspapers reported.
The 84-member Majlis Al-Shura, or consultative council, which was elected last week, will now be able to elect its speaker, after the head of the chamber used to be named by the sultan, according to a new decree by Sultan Qaboos.
The sultan also decreed that the council would be able to revise and propose legislation, which will still need to be endorsed by the all-appointed upper chamber, to go the sultan who has the final call.
The council will also be able to grill ministers.
Sultan Qaboos in March ordered a study to extend the council's powers to be completed in 30 days, shortly after the normally peaceful sultanate was caught up in the protests sweeping the Arab world, with demonstrators taking to the streets in late February to demand improved living conditions.