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