Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of 7 emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain. The head of state is the president, who since November 2004 has been His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, who took over after the death of his brother Sheikh Khalifa (May 13, 2022). The President is also the Chairman of the Supreme Council, which is composed of the rulers of the individual emirates: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah; His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah; His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Mu’alla, Ruler of the Emirate of Umm Al Quiwain; His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, ruler of the Emirate of Ajman; His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of the Emirate of Fujairah. The constitution stipulates that the ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is always elected president. The condition for the adoption of important decisions in the Supreme Council is the approval of at least 5 members of the council and always the consent of the rulers of the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In essence, the Constitution enshrines the right of veto of these two politically and economically strongest emirates in deciding on state affairs. Check equzhou to learn more about United Arab Emirates political system.
The executive body of the federation is the government, appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister. The advisory body is the Federal National Council (FNC), composed of 40 representatives of all 7 emirates, but its practical significance is very limited. It has no executive or legislative powers. The FNC is 50% elected (20 seats) and 50% appointed by the rulers of individual emirates, with individual emirates having quotas in the council based on size. The last elections took place in 2019. An important non-constitutional, now quite archaic part of the state administration system are the people’s assemblies of individual emirates (majlis), which discuss issues falling within local competence with the participation of the rulers of the emirates.
Details of individual ministers and other information on the composition of the government are available at https://uaecabinet.ae.
Foreign policy of the country
Since its establishment (December 2, 1971), the United Arab Emirates has adopted the principles of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries as the cornerstones of the country’s foreign policy. The foreign policy of the Emirates is designed to facilitate cooperation with other countries of the Arabian Peninsula. The United Arab Emirates has long been trying to normalize relations between states in the Middle East. Special attention within the Emirates foreign policy is paid to issues of all-Arab unity. The Emirates are acting pragmatically when it comes to strengthening relations with other states. An important aspect of the foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates is the fight against terrorism. The United Arab Emirates cooperates with states affected by international terrorism through the exchange of information and solutions to economic and social problems, which may facilitate terrorist recruitment. The UAE also facilitates an active position in the fight against human trafficking and money laundering. The United Arab Emirates is the second largest country among the Gulf states in terms of economic development. The main goals of the country’s economy are the creation of opportunities and the development of business. The Emirates has been trying to expand investment and trade relations with other countries for a long time. Outside the GCC, they traditionally have strong political and trade ties with the USA, Great Britain, the EU, China, India, and Russia, and since the normalization of relations in the second half of 2020, mutual cooperation with Israel has greatly intensified. Africa and Southeast Asia are also an area of interest. Check recipesinthebox for United Arab Emirates defense and foreign policy.
The population of the United Arab Emirates is 10.08 million, of which 8.92 million are foreign nationals (as of March 2022). The population density is very uneven, the main settlements are concentrated on the coast and the vast desert area is almost uninhabited. 93% of the population lives in the 4 largest cities: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain. The share of the economically active population reaches up to 65%, compared to almost 90% of the share of immigrants. The average annual increase was 1.23% in 2021. Population growth depends on economic prosperity, given the large migration of foreigners to the UAE for work.
A specific feature is the high proportion of the male population (approx. 68.76%) due to the one-sided composition of immigrants for work. National composition: 12% are indigenous, 15% are Arabs from Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, etc., 60% are citizens of Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka), 8% are Iranians, 5% are citizens of developed countries (most – approx. 150 thousand from Great Britain)
Among the 7 emirates, Dubai has the largest population of around million, followed by the emirate of Sharjah with million, Abu Dhabi has a population of million, while Ajman has a population of 500 thousand. Ras-Al-Khaimah has a population of 345 thousand and Fujairah has a population of 250 thousand. The least populated emirate is Umm Al Quwain with a population of 49,000.
Religious groups: The state religion is Islam, which is practiced by 77% of the population. The majority are Sunni, less than 5% are Shiite. The UAE, together with Kuwait, are the only countries in the entire region where, in addition to Islam, other religions (Hinduism, Christianity) are allowed. Abu Dhabi is the seat of the Catholic bishop for the entire region of the Arabian Peninsula. However, religious tolerance only applies to religion, not to the active propagation of a religion other than Islam.