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Sunday, August 9, 2020

    130 Qataris to vie for 27 seats in Central Municipal Council election


    Photo for illustrative purposes only.
    Photo for illustrative purposes only.

    Competition for seats on Qatar’s only elected body is expected to be fierce this year, with 130 candidates running for 27 seats on the board.

    The official list of Central Municipal Council (CMC) candidates was released this week.

    The high number of people running for seats (101 stood for the last poll in 2011) is in stark contrast to record-low voter registration levels for the May 13 election.

    Photo for illustrative purposes only.
    Photo for illustrative purposes only.

    Only Qataris can vote and run in CMC elections, but many have expressed skepticism about the body’s effectiveness. Formed in 1999, the council can only make recommendations and does not have any legislative authority.

    In the fall of 2013, a report produced by the CMC’s general secretariat found that only one-third of some 111 recommendations made during the council’s last session were even acknowledged by authorities.

    Still, the CMC has drawn attention to important civic matters such as the safety of petrol stations and rising housing costs.

    This year’s candidate roster has five women, including current CMC member Sheikha Al Jefairi.

    Competition is fiercer in some districts compared to others. For example, CMC vice-chairman Jassim Abdullah Al Malki from Constituency No. 1, is running uncontested.

    And according to the Peninsula, sitting member Rabia bin Hamad bin Ajlan technically won the seat for Constituency No. 27 after his lone opponent withdrew his nomination.

    Meanwhile, at least 10 people are vying to represent Constituency No. 11, which consists of Ain Khalid, Industrial Area, Measimeer south and Abu Hamour west.

    Campaign rules

    With the list officially announced, candidates are now expected to begin limited campaigning efforts around town.

    2011 CMC campaign poster
    2011 CMC campaign poster

    According to the Peninsula, each council hopeful must first apply to the Ministry of Interior’s “media committee” to begin his/her campaign, and then seek permission from the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning if he/she wishes to put up posters in public places.

    Once those hurdles are cleared, candidates must adhere to strict rules, including:

    • Slogans that try to fan sectarian or tribal passions are strictly banned;
    • No personal attacks on rivals (either directly or indirectly) are allowed;
    • No posters/banners can be hung or election speeches given in religious places, government offices and schools; and
    • Signs cannot be put up on electric or telephone polls.

    The full list of candidates in available online in Arabic here.

    Have you seen any campaign signage pop up in your part of town yet? Thoughts?

    Shabina S. Khatri
    Shabina S. Khatri is the editor of Doha News. She holds dual bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University, has previously taught at NU-Q, and worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press.


    1. “Still, the CMC has drawn attention to important civic matters such as the safety of petrol stations and rising housing costs”. Phew – without the CMC’s input nobody would have known.

    2. Let’s just state the real reason Qataris want to be part of this body. It has no power and will change zero things in Qatar, however the job pays extremely well. Keep the population doped up on money and no one will question the status quo.

        • Of course and that is what I was saying. Why push for any real voice in governing the country when the royal family/govt spreads the money around and you have a good standard of living.

      • I don’t think this job pays. And even if it does, it must be some sort of an allowance as these people have their jobs anyway and are not required to resign from them, as far as I understand. It is also not a full-time job anyway. It is more like a meeting or two every month with some announcements and a press release.


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