The current Government
H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the current President of the UAE. He was elected on 3 November 2004, following the demise of his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the current Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE who was elected following the demise of his brother, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in early 2006.
Both federal and local governments are assisted by government institutions, which work in conjunction with upper authorities such as:
- the federal entities and ministries at the federal level and
- the Rulers' Courts, the Executive Councils, the Municipalities and the Consultative Councils at the local government level.
In addition, traditional governance still exists in the UAE; the institution of 'Majlis' ensures mutual trust and citizens free access to their Rulers.
Jurisdiction of the UAE Federal Government
The Constitution lays down the provisions regarding the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. According to Article 120 of the Constitution, the UAE's Federal Government has exclusive legislative and executive jurisdiction in the following matters:
- foreign affairs
- defence and the federal Armed Forces
- protection of the country's security against internal or external threat
- matters pertaining to security, order and governance in the permanent capital of the Federation
- matters relating to federal employees and the Federal Judiciary
- federal finances, taxes, dues and fees
- federal public loans
- postal, telegraphic, telephonic and wireless services
- construction, maintenance and improvement of federal roads
- the organisation of traffic on such roads
- air traffic control
- public health and health services
- weights, measures and standards
- electricity services
- federal nationality, passports, residence and immigration
- federal property and all matters relating thereto
- census matters and statistics relevant to federal objectives
- federal information
According to Article 121 of the Constitution, the Federation is solely in charge of enacting laws on the following matters:
- labour relations and social security
- real estate ownership and expropriation for public interest
- extradition of criminals
- banking and insurance of all kinds
- protection of fauna and flora
- major legislations related to penal law, civil and commercial transactions code, company law, code of procedures before the civil and criminal courts
- protection of intellectual, technical and industrial property copyrights
- printings and publishing
- import of weapons and ammunitions except for use by the armed forces or the security forces belonging to any emirate
- other aviation affairs
- determination of territorial waters and regulation of navigation on the high seas
- determining method of establishing financial free zones and organising them
The operations of the government are distributed between the federal and the local governments of each emirate. The UAE's Constitution defines the scope of jurisdiction for each level maintaining smooth coordination between the two.
Read more about the following UAE federal authorities as stated by Article 45 of the UAE's Constitution:
In addition to these five main authorities, there are also other federal government entities which work to achieve the public goals and policies of the federation.
Prior to the establishment of the Federation on 2 December 1971, each emirate had its own separate institution which collaborated under the framework of the Trucial States Council. However, after the formation of the UAE, to prepare for the future, the Rulers agreed to draw up a provisional Constitution specifying the powers that were to be allocated to the new federal institutions. In 1996, the UAE Federal Supreme Council approved two amendments to the provisional Constitution, making it permanent and naming Abu Dhabi as the capital of the UAE.
Updated on 24 Sep 2019