The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates formed in 1971, each governed by a hereditary emir. Khalifa bin Zayid al-Nahyan, is the current Ruler of Abu Dhabi and the President of the UAE. The current Vice-President and Prime Minister is Muhammad bin Rashid al-Maktum, also Ruler of Dubai. Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan has greater UAE-wide power by virtue of his dominant influence over policymaking in Abu Dhabi and the importance of Abu Dhabi within the federation. Abu Dhabi is by far the most influential emirate, owing to its vast energy-related wealth. It is widely believed that federal cabinet appointments are decided largely by Abu Dhabi. On the other hand, Dubai, which has far smaller oil reserves, has sought to turn itself into the financial gateway and cosmopolitan hub of the Middle East. Each Emirate is governed by its own Ruler, with its own local government, courts and police forces. Given the poor health of the emir of Abu Dhabi, there might be a succession, but this would be smooth and would not have a major impact on policy. The UAE’s federal structure includes a Supreme Council (comprising the Rulers of each Emirate), and a semi-appointed Federal National Council with an advisory role. Half the FNC members are elected, with the other 20 being appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates. Although the FNC continues to be denied legislative powers, some of the appointed members have called for reform to bolster the influence of the body. Although, any substantial changes to the FNC’s powers is excepted. Elections are held every four years, with the next one due in 2019. Although it remains an authoritarian country, culturally the UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf.