Oman Sultan grants parliament legislative powers

Protesters say they do not want to topple the revered sultan, but want jobs and an end to corruption.

Updated: Mar 13, 2011, 20:30 PM IST

Muscat: Oman`s Sultan Qaboos on Sunday
granted legislative power to the previously toothless Oman
Council after weeks of anti-government protests in the
strategic Gulf state.

"We grant the Oman Council legislative and regulatory
powers," said a royal decree carried by ONA state news agency,
referring to the elected Majlis Ash-Shura consultative council
and the all-appointed Council of State.

"A technical committee of specialists is to be formed
to propose amendments to the state basic law to this effect,"
the decree said, adding the committee should present its
report to the sultan within 30 days.

The announcement comes a week after the sultan sacked
controversial ministers in a major cabinet reshuffle aimed at
appeasing rare protests that flared up last month.

The economy and interior ministers were among at least
12 cabinet members to lose their jobs in the 29-member

Demonstrators say they do not want to topple the
revered sultan, but are demanding jobs, better pay and an end
to corruption.

The reshuffle failed to end a sit-in at Earth
Roundabout in the northern city of Sohar, which started on
February 27.

At least one protester was killed in clashes with
police in Sohar on February 27 but Oman has been spared the
violence that has gripped other Arab states including Egypt,
Tunisia, Libya and neighbouring Yemen.

Oman is a Western ally on the strategic Strait of
Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of the world`s oil shipments

Sultan Qaboos, who has ruled Oman for four decades,
earlier announced the creation of 50,000 new jobs, a monthly
allowance for registered job seekers and a higher minimum wage
for nationals working in the private sector.