United Arab Emirates is a country located in the region of Western Asia. The United Arab Emirates is authoritatively controlled by the president and leaders of the seven emirates. Elections to half of the seats in an Advisory Assembly, the Federal National Council, have been held since 2006, but only selected citizens are allowed to vote. Widespread wealth that many emirates are receiving has contributed to the fact that there is not the same breeding ground for political dissatisfaction as in many other countries in the region. But the regime has nevertheless effectively put an end to all possibilities of regime criticism, spurred by concerns about an Islamist advance.
The United Arab Emirates was reached in 2011 by a fan of the Arab Spring, the popular protest wave that spread across North Africa and the Middle East. In March 2011, 133 academics, journalists and civil rights activists published a call on the internet demanding that the Federal National Council be given legislative power and that its members be elected in general elections. Five of the participants in the network uprising were convicted of insulting the country’s leader, but were briefly pardoned by President Khalifa. Seven other participants were deprived of their citizenship as punishment. They belonged to the Muslim movement al-Islah, which was formed in the 1970s with the approval of the regime. The movement has mainly promoted charity and has many sympathizers especially in the poorer emirates in the north.
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of United Arab Emirates, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
After the network uprising, the authorities increased the surveillance of al-Islah. While the rulers claimed that the movement wants to overthrow the regime and was concerned about a link with the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood, which is found in Egypt, among other things, al-Islah described itself as a peaceful movement that wants universal elections and greater scope for Islam in society and politics.
In the spring of 2012, the concerns of the Islamists were also reflected in the ruling families when the leader of al-Islah, Sultan bin Qayd al-Qasimi, cousin of the emirate of Ras al-Khayma, was placed under house arrest. The same year, the regime adopted a law for the Internet and social media. Forging the country’s leadership or calling for demonstrations could result in imprisonment.
In the spring of 2013, over 90 people were brought to justice accused of planning to overthrow the regime. Many of them belonged to al-Islah. 69 of them were sentenced to multi-year prison sentences. In the same year, ten emirates and twenty Egyptians were also sentenced to prison for up to five years for trying to establish a national branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Another part of the regime’s repressive policy was a new hard-line anti-terrorism legislation introduced in August 2014. Soon, the country’s government stamped the Muslim Brotherhood.
The regime has continued to silence criticism, including by withdrawing citizens’ passports or prohibiting them from traveling. At the same time, it has continued to plan for large-scale projects with boast factor, such as a world exhibition and a space program in collaboration with other Arab countries.
Abu Dhabi, thanks to its substantial oil revenues, has been able to dominate politics in the country and also donates most resources to the federal budget. Dubai has always wanted to mark an independent position, which was possible because every emirate has control over their own resources and finances.
Dubai has increasingly developed into a successful commercial and financial center, with thriving tourism and real estate markets. The development has been financed with large loans. Debt led to problems during the international financial crisis; In November 2009, it was clear that the large corporate group Dubai World could not repay $ 26 billion in debt. Following support from Abu Dhabi, a restructuring of Dubai World was initiated and the Dubai government took a stronger hold on the corporate group. The crisis showed that tensions and rivalries between the two emirates remain. There were reports that Abu Dhabi, in return, forced Dubai to submit to the federal agencies to a greater extent. Among other things, officials from Abu Dhabi should have had direct access to Dubai’s finance ministry.
By the middle of the 2010s, the situation became brighter (see Financial overview). In Dubai, intensive planning and construction has been underway for the Expo World Expo in 2020. The Corona pandemic will postpone the exhibition for the full year, but the hope is that the fair will create 277,000 new jobs and attract 25 million visitors. Sweden will participate with its own pavilion. A basic idea is to showcase technical solutions with sustainability as the guiding idea.
Abu Dhabi also has large-scale plans for the future. About $ 400 million has been earmarked for road and housing construction, while branches at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the French Louvre have been erected with the help of labor migrants.
Read more about the ongoing development in the Calendar.
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FACTS – POLITICS
al-Imarat al-Arabiyya al-Muttahida / United Arab Emirates
monarchy, federal state
Head of State
President Khalifa bin Zayid Al Nahyan, Emir of Abu Dhabi (2004–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktum, Emir of Dubai (2006–)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
no political parties exist
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
no political parties exist
no general elections are held
no general elections are held