|Government and Politics|
The ruler of the emirate, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, has been in power since 1948, when he assumed control of the sheikhdom from his uncle. Most of the day-to-day political and economic operations are carried out by the crown prince, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi.
The emirs of the other seven emirates of the federation form the UAE’s Supreme Council, headed by a president who is elected by the council every five years. The current president of the UAE is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Khalifa was elected president in 2004 following the death of his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who served as president of the federation since its inception. There is an implicit understanding in the council that the president will always be from Abu Dhabi, due to its substantial political and economic clout.
The Supreme Council ratifies all the laws in the country, while the Council of Ministers, a 20-member cabinet headed by the prime minister, is the executive branch of the government. The prime minister is appointed by the president, and the post is currently held by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai. The Federal National Council, a 40-member consultative body, represents the interests of each emirate in the federal government.
In 2005, the government announced a new policy of political liberalisation. At the end of 2006, elections were held for half of the seats of Federal National Council, while the other half will continue to be appointed by the government.