United Arab Emirates, Government
ruling family, religious leaders, factions, merchants, political parties
The UAE’s constitution, provisionally adopted at independence in 1971 and made permanent only in 1996, established a federal government that leaves much power to the emirates. The government has executive, legislative, and judicial branches, but the executive dominates. There are no political parties and no popular elections. Although the governmental institutions are modern in form, the essence of political power is traditional and hereditary, with the ruling family of each emirate representing its dominant tribe. Politics is largely a process of satisfying the claims to power of ruling families and their factions as well as merchants and religious leaders.
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