Middle East

Oman profile - Leaders

Sultan, prime minister, foreign minister: Qaboos Bin Said Al Said

Image caption Sultan Qaboos is a popular moderniser, but has eschewed far-reaching democratic reform

Sultan Qaboos seized power in a coup against his father, Said Bin Taimur, in 1970.

As sultan, he took on the role of prime minister and heads the foreign, defence and finance ministries.

His policies have proved popular in spite of the lack of a democratic government. He instigated the use of oil revenues to develop the country's infrastructure and modernised the government structure with the establishment of a Consultative Assembly in 1981, replaced by the Consultative Council - the majlis al-shura - in 1990 and the Council of State in 1997.

However, all important decisions are still made by the sultan.

Oman saw a rare outbreak of discontent in 2011 when demonstrators gathered to demand jobs and political reform. Their action followed a wave of pro-democracy protests across the Arab world. Sultan Qaboos responded quickly by promising more jobs and benefits.