Qatar sets up monitoring body for first parliamentary elections

Qatar sets up monitoring body for first parliamentary elections

Qatar has set up a committee to oversee its first parliamentary elections, which are due in October, its interior ministry said on Sunday.
The elections will concern two-thirds, or 30 members, of the 45-seat Shura Advisory Council. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will appoint 15 members, rather than the entire council as he is doing today.

Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani, who is also interior minister, has ordered the creation of an oversight committee to be headed by interior ministry officials, the ministry said on Twitter.

Qatar, which already has municipal elections, has yet to publish the Electoral System Law for the Shura Council or set an exact date for the vote. Like other Arab Gulf states, Qatar has banned political parties.

Sheikh Khalid said last month that an election bill approved by the cabinet in May would limit campaign spending and criminalize foreign funding and vote buying.

He said the small but wealthy country, the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, had been divided into 30 constituencies.

Sheikh Khalid also said that there was no pressure from Qatari citizens to hold the Shura elections.

He said that it was rather the conviction of the Emir of Qatar to move forward “towards strengthening the role of the Shoura Council in the development of the legislative process and the expansion of national participation”, he told Qatari media last month.

In recent months, Qatar has worked on developing constitutional procedures and legislative tools, including the electoral law.

The developments come after Sheikh Tamim in November last year ordered the formation of a committee to organize the vote, after a delay of several years.

Qataris make up around 10 percent of the estimated 2.7 million inhabitants, most of whom are foreign workers.

Kuwait is the only Gulf monarchy to give substantial powers to an elected parliament, which can block laws and question ministers, although the ultimate decision-making rests with the ruler.

Bahrain and Oman hold elections for a chamber of their bicameral parliaments, which have limited influence.

Saudi Arabia’s advisory body appointed. In the United Arab Emirates, the government approves eligible citizens to vote for half of the advisory board members.


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