Dubai Real Estate Blog

Real Estate Market in Dubai

Dubai is not a democracy

It is what scholars call a “constitutional monarchy” – this means that the national leader cannot be challenged in elections, but that nevertheless he is no “absolute” ruler, as it is his duty to follow the constitution, which is above him. Dubai does not have a parliament itself, but it is of course a member of the United Arab Emirates, and this country does have some form of parliament, the Federal National Council, which every member state, including Dubai, sends representatives to. Half of them do get elected by the people – so we can say that Dubai clearly has democratic elements.

Anyway, another question arises here: Is Dubai a country or a federal state/province? Well, this has no clear answer. While Dubai belongs to the independent UAE, which is a member of the United Nations and hence clearly an independent country, Dubai enjoys a huge amount of sovereignty itself, and after all it is a monarchy. I guess the bottom line is that here in the Middle East you can never fully apply Western standards and definitions. The people here just come from a very different background, and that is a feudal one, and not Western-democratic. In the Arab world not everything has to be written down in detail, as ancient tradition has a great part in guiding people.

I think one should really look at it more pragmatically and ask: What is life in Dubai and the UAE like? And here I’d say that this is pretty good. I mean being a democracy is not everything, is it? Even without being one, Dubai gives its citizens and also the expat community, clear, and I would say: basically fair, rules, and then the government plays by these rules. I’d say this is what really matters.

Of course, the person of the monarch and the dynasty/family he belongs to have quite an amount of significance. So let’s take a look at him: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the emir of Dubai. “Emir” is a traditional Arab word, and I’d say it should best simply be translated as “king”, because this says it all. Our emir was born in 1947, so he is far from being a juvenile hothead. I think it is a very important fact that his education was mostly done in English (partially even in Britain!). We see him as a big friend of the West, of Western people, and of Western culture. After all, it was his father, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who opened Dubai, and hence the UAE, to the world. Just imagine how different a path Dubai could have taken! If you look at the countries of the Arab world – well, there are many of them whose feelings for the West are less than friendly. But Dubai has always welcomed Westerners with open arms – indeed we can say that in some way it now belongs to the West.

Emir Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum appears to be a friendly, cultivated, and intelligent person. What’s more, his people truly seem to love him. And he is thoroughly committed to continuing on the path that his father chose. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum wants to make the Dubai of the future even more international, and also bigger, grander, and better. Let’s wish him luck!