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UAE -Profile - Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Ruler of Dubai and UAE Vice President, Maktoum is the UAE's premier. He inherited these positions from his father Shaikh Rashid, who died in November 1990. He formed a cabinet on Nov. 20, 1990. Before that, when he was UAE deputy prime minister, he was somewhat disengaged from the affairs of the federal state, devoting more time to his role as crown prince of Dubai. That was because his father had been in a coma for years. (See the family's history in Gas Market Trends).

Maktoum and his brothers are a close knit group and all were educated in prestigious institutions in Britain, with Maktoum, Hamdan and Mohammed having graduated from Cambridge. Maktoum's 22-year old son died in a car crash in February 2002 as he was racing in Dubai.

Maktoum had been tipped for the UAE premiership since 1981, when Shaikh Rashid became seriously ill and made him crown prince of Dubai. His style has not changed much, but he has been able to efficiently project an element of continuity into the functioning of Dubai's government and that of the UAE as a whole. On March 25, 1997, he reshuffled the UAE cabinet for the first time since 1990 after lengthy negotiations with UAE President Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the union's other rulers.

The UAE cabinet is the executive authority for the union. The prime minister is chosen by the UAE president in consultation with the other Supreme Council members.

The prime minister selects the ministers after consulting with the president, and these are drawn from the seven emirates according to a quota system worked out in the early 1970s.

The more populous emirates have a larger quota of ministers than the smaller entities. Usually, each ruler presents the premier-designate with a list of ministers to fill his quota.

Among Abu Dhabians filling Shaikh Zayed's quota, Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the second eldest son of the UAE president, was retained as deputy premier; his fourth son Handan Bin Zayed was in October 2003 made second deputy premier and he retained his position as state minister for foreign affairs; Obaid Al Nassiri was given the oil portfolio; Abdullah Bin Zayed, 31, of the UAE president's brilliant sons, got the information post from Khalfan Al Roumi; UAE attorney general Mohammed Al Dhahiri, who was made minister of justice, Islamic affairs and endowments, replaced justice minister Abdullah Bin Omran Taryam and Islamic affairs and endowments minister Mohammed Al Khazraji (with the two ministries merged); the interior minister, Gen. Mohammed Said Al Badi, was kept in his post; also kept in his post was higher education minister Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.

Maktoum, his brothers and his uncle Shaikh Ahmad Bin Said, belong to the "Bani Said" branch of the Al Maktoum family. This consists of the direct descendants of the late Shaikh Said Bin Maktoum Bin Hasher Bin Maktoum Bin Buti Bin Suhail, who ruled Dubai in 1912-58. The other branches include the Bani Jumaa, consisting of the sons of the late Shaikh Said's half-brother Jumaa.

Born in 1943 as the first son of Shaikh Rashid Bin Said and a daughter of a former Abu Dhabi ruler, Shaikh Maktoum got his higher education in Cambridge in 1961-64. He began his career as an assistant to his father and later became deputy ruler and crown prince of Dubai. He became acting ruler in 1982, when Shaikh Rashid fell ill, and ruler as the father died in late 1990.

Shaikh Maktoum is married to a liberal cousin, the attractive and young Shaikha Boushra Bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, who is from another branch of the ruling family. With a strong personality, the shaikha is a famous painter and does not always wear the Islamic veil. One of her brothers has been head of Shaikh Maktoum's office. Their daughter, Shaikha Hessa, is also a famous artist and one of the liberal females in the UAE. In 1996, she held a major exhibition at the Dubai Trade Centre.

About 99% of UAE women receive education and the illiteracy rate among those over 10 is less than 11%. Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the favourite wife of UAE President and Abu Dhabi Ruler Shaikh Zayed, has pioneered the role of the modern woman in the union. She is the mother of Shaikh Zayed's third son, UAE Chief of Staff and UAE Offset Group's mentor Mohammed Bin Zayed, whom Shaikh Zayed in early 2004 elevated to the post of deputy crown prince.

Favoured by Shaikh Zayed, Mohammed and his younger full-brothers now hold key posts in Abu Dhabi. They are promoting the role of women in the state. Over 80% of employees in the UAE ministries of health and education are women. Several have undersecretary status or have become department heads.
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Date:May 31, 2004
Words:795
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