Qataris began voting in the emirate’s first legislative election on Saturday in a symbolic sign of democracy, which analysts say will not transfer power from the ruling family. The advisory council vote has also sparked a domestic debate over electoral participation and citizenship.
The vote is for the 30 members of the 45-strong Shura Council, a body with limited powers that was previously appointed by the emir as an advisory chamber.
Pools will open at 0500 GMT and close at 1500 GMT with results expected the same day.
At a polling station at the Jawan Bin Jassim School in the Oniza district of the capital, Doha Qatari Citizens wearing white thobes signed up to vote at the registration desk.
After briefly standing in line, they cast their ballots in a semi-transparent plastic box marked with a boat, swords and a palm tree.
Observers say the decision to hold elections, which was adopted in a 2003 referendum but repeatedly delayed in the “national interest”, came as Qatar prepared to host. 2022 World Cup..
“They think it will be interesting to do so before the FIFA World Cup. More positive attention Luciano Zakara, an assistant professor of Gulf politics at Qatar University, said he wanted to show that he was taking positive steps. “
No control over defense security, economic, investment policy institutions.
The council will be allowed to legislate, approve budgets and recall ministers. But it has no control over executive bodies to formulate defense, security, economic and investment policies for small but wealthy gas producers, which bans political parties.
Rich in the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, will also use the veto.
Campaigns have been launched on social media, community meetings and roadside billboards, which have taken to the streets of Qatari cities and are adorned with billboards adorned with nationally dressed candidates.
Apart from the lone candidate town hall meetings, posters and TV spots, the introduction of democracy in the country is limited, change of government is not possible, because political parties are illegal.
Candidates have avoided a uniform debate on Qatar’s foreign policy or monarchy status, instead focusing on social issues, including health issues, education and citizenship rights.
Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani called last month’s vote a “new experience” and said the council could not be expected to play a “full role in any parliament” from the first year.
Kuwait The Gulf monarchy has been the only one that gives significant power to an elected parliament, although the final decision rests with the ruler, as in neighboring states.
Intense debate on electoral participation and citizenship
All candidates have to be approved by the powerful Interior Ministry against a number of criteria, including age, character and criminal history.
Candidates have also been asked to pre-register official campaign events with the ministry, as well as the names of all speakers if the authorities want to curb possible sectarianism or tribalism.
The majority of candidates are men, with only 28 of the 284 candidates running for the 30 available council seats. Amir will appoint the remaining 15 seats.
Most of Qatar’s 2.5 million people are foreigners, ineligible to vote, and only 10% of the population. Even then, not all Qataris are eligible to vote.
Tribal sensitivities were aroused after some members of a key Qatari tribe disqualified themselves from voting because they only existed in the country before 1940, using data compiled by British officials at the time. People’s direct offspring were banned from voting.
Diplomatic sources say the families and tribes have already held an internal referendum to decide who will be elected to their constituencies.
The foreign minister said there was a “clear process” for electoral law that would be reviewed by the next Shura Council.
(France 24 with AFP and Reuters)