The FSC holds its ordinary closed sessions once every 2 months for an annual term of minimum 8 months begining the first week of October in the capital of the federation or in any ither place agreed upon. The FSC can also be convened extraordinarily upon the invitation of its chairman or any of its members. For the meeting to be legal, the presence of 5 of its 7 members including Abu Dhabi and Dubai is required.
While procedural issues such as the time and place of the council′s meetings, the adding of an issue to the agenda, the omission of an item from the session′s record, the invitation for hearind a testification,the mode of voting on certain subjects etc.., are passed according to the rule of simple majority, substansive issues pertaining to drawing general policy, drafting union laws,agreements and ratifying international treaties require a two thirds majority, meaning five out of seven provided the votes of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are included.
Composed of the rulers of the seven emirates, the FSC is the highest federal authority delegated powers of ratification and both executive & legislative powers, thus reflecting a sense of autocracy in a collective form.
The power of ratification though limited to the decisions possibly initiated by the President, Council of Ministers, or by each individual emirate is quite decisive as it includes:
- Approval of a decision on merging taken by two or more emirates
- Approval of the resignation or dismissal of the Prime Minister upon the recommendation of the president
- Approval of the declaration of martial law preceded by the approval of both the President & the Council of Ministers
- Approval of the request submitted by any emirate asking for the assistance of the Armed or Security Forces. Even if the Supreme Council is not in session and the President along with the Council of Ministers take immediate action, the FSC should called to sanction any action.
- Endorsement of the declaration of defensive war proposed by the President
- Endorsement of the decrees issued by the Council of Ministers on the appointment, resignation, or dismissal of judges of the Supreme Court
- Endorsement of international treaties and agreements concluded by the Council of Ministers
- The endorsement or rejection of any administrative agreement concluded between each individual emirate and the neighbouring countries
Within its executive jurisdiction, the FSC is empowered to:
- Elect the President and Vice President of the Federation
- Unanimously accept a new member to the Federation
- Draw the general policy of the union in order to achieve the federation’s objectives and the common interests of its members
- Supervise all internal and external union affairs
- To draft its own Rules and Procedures Bill
The legislative power delegated to the FSC gives it the final decision in federal legislation. As such, legislation proposed by the Council of Ministers and then discussed in the Federal National Council, is presented to the FSC for final approval or rejection. In addition, the FSC may issue a law without the consent of the Council of Ministers and the Federal National Council.
Since the members of the FNS are rulers of the emirates themselves, the powers of the FSC can be delegated to the President and the Council of Ministers when the FSC is not in session. Nonetheless, the power to ratify international treaties and agreements, to approve the declaration of war, to appoint the President and judges of the Supreme Court is the FSC’s exclusive prerogative.
The annual term being a period of 8 months starting the first week of October, the FSC convenes ordinarily in the capital or any other place every two months of an annual term. The FSC may however hold extraordinary sessions upon the invitation of its chairman or any of its members. A simple majority is required for voting on procedural issues like the addition of a certain issue to the Council’s agenda, the invitation of an individual for testimony’s sake etc….Though each emirate has a single vote, not all votes are privileged with the same weight for Abu Dhabi and Dubai possess the right of veto and their assenting votes are a condition to pass on decisions of substantial matters concerning the state’s general policy, appointment of Prime Minister, imposition of martial law, declaration of war, ratification of international treaties and draft laws etc…