The medical tourism destination of the United Arab Emirates enjoys a stable political system that is a quaint mix of traditional monarchy combined with modern administrative principles.Â This country is far from a democracy, although in 2005, the President, Sheikh Nahyan, did announce that some members of the Federal Council would henceforth be elected.
At the time of its independence in 1971, the federation consisted of six emirates. The largest of these, the capital city Abu Dhabi and the medical tourism hub of Dubai, were already well into oil exploration and had growing populations.Â In contrast, the tiniest emirate of the six, Fujairah, was not even connected by roadways to the rest of the country.Â The constitution of the country, which was adopted the same year, clearly defined the powers of the federation versus the powers of the individual emirates.Â Foreign affairs, defense, immigration, postal services, health, and education all fall under federal jurisdiction.Â Other federal powers included those relating to banking, finance, crime, extradition, telecommunications, and labor relations.
Legislative and Executive Powers
The Federal National Council consists of 40 members drawn from each emirate.Â Dubai and Abu Dhabi have the highest number of representatives at 8 each, while the smaller emirates have fewer representatives.
The federal judiciary is an independent body that includes the Courts of First Instance and the Supreme Court.Â
Each of the seven emirates also has its own local government, headed by the ruler of that emirate.Â The size of the administrative body differs widely, depending on the size of the emirate.
The lack of a democratic government in this medical tourism destination has drawn criticism from human rights activists who point to alleged violations when the country deports people who attempt to convert Moslems to another religion. Â However, given that the country collects no taxes (or very limited taxes), and spends heavily on subsidized housing, free education, free healthcare, and other privileges, there haven't been many widespread calls for democracy from the local population.Â