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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Five things to know about the Shura Council

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The long-anticipated elections will be held on 2 October.

Qatar is less than two weeks away from holding its historic Shura Council elections, the first legislative vote in the Gulf State.

Here are five facts about Qatar’s Shura Council that will give you a better understanding of the most crucial conversation today.

1. First-ever Shura Council elections in Qatar 

After years of postponing the elections, Qatar’s Cabinet approved a draft law concerning the Shura Council electoral system law, detailing the criteria needed to run for the elections in the Gulf state.

This included requirements of candidates’ eligibility, voter registrations and campaigning, and other details concerning the first of its kind election.

Last month, authorities confirmed that Qatar’s Shura Council elections would be held on 2 October, as candidates registered for the country’s first legislative vote.

The decision was announced after Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued a decree to green-light the plans.

Read also: Climate change among top issues for incoming Shura Council: official

The elected Shura Council will have legislative authority and will be able to approve general state policies and their budgets. It will also exercise control over the executive, except for bodies defining defence, security, economic, and investment policy.

On 15 September, authorities announced the finalised candidates for Qatar’s Shura Council elections, almost two weeks ahead of the historic vote.

Two hundred eighty-four candidates from 30 electoral districts were named on the list. 

To be eligible for nomination, candidates must be originally Qatari and aged 30 and above by the closing date of the nomination. They must also be fluent in reading and writing in Arabic.

Those who hold ministerial and military positions – state, judicial bodies, ministers of state, Central Municipal Council – cannot nominate themselves.

Candidates working at ministries or other government entities whose names are included in the final lists of candidates are given unpaid leave throughout the elections if they do not have a sufficient leave balance.

Qatari citizens will be able to vote for a total of 30 members out of the 45 in a general ballot, with Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani selecting the remaining 15.

Those who hold ministerial and military positions – state, judicial bodies, ministers of state, Central Municipal Council – cannot nominate themselves.

Candidates working at ministries or other government entities whose names are included in the final lists of candidates are given unpaid leave throughout the elections if they do not have a sufficient leave balance.

2. The elections were to take place in 2013 but were halted

Read also: All you need to know about Qatar’s first Shura Council elections

Amir Hamad bin Khalifa stepped down as amir on 25 June 2013 and handed over power to his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani – the current amir of Qatar.

The Shura Council or Consultative Assembly was then extended till 2016 but was again postponed to 2019. Pressure from neighbouring countries resulted in the election not taking place.

In October of that year, Amir Tamim issued an order to form a committee to organise the elections, chaired by Prime Minister Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani.

Finally, in May 2021, Qatar’s Cabinet approved a draft law concerning the Shura Council electoral system law.

3. First female members 

For the first time since its inception, women joined the Shura Council as members in 2017. 

At the time, Hind Abdul Rahman Al-Muftah, Hessa Sultan al-Jaber, Reem al-Mansoori and Aisha Yousef al-Mannai made history after becoming the first female members of the all-male council.

4. Dozens of female candidates elected 

Just four years on, 40 women applied as candidates for the Shura Council election, with 28 making it on to the final, official list.

Qatar’s district 3 hosts candidates: Hissa Abdullah Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Maryam Abdullah Rashid Hamood Al Sulaiti and Moza Mohammed Jumaa Alfadala Al Sulaiti.

Maryam Kamal Mohammed Jassim Al Maslamani is running for district 7, Amal Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al Subaie for district 8, Fatima Mohammed Jaber Sultan Al Jaber for district 9, Almaha Jassim Mohammed Ibrahim Al Majed, Lulwa Ammar Hussain bin Abbas Al Khazaie for district 11, Aisha Humam Salem Mubarak Al Jassim, Naima Abdulwahab Mohammed Alsheikh Al Mutawaa for district 12.

Read also: Finalised list of Shura Council election candidates revealed

Amna Bilal Masoud Taish Al Qubaisi and Moudi Mubarak Nasser Mubarak Al Boeinein are running for district 15, Hasanat Mubarak Salem Dham Al Abdullah, Fatima Abdullah Salem Faraj Al Abdullah and Lina Nasser Omar Al Dafa for district 17, Amna Mubarak Jabir Abdullah Al Msalam for district 19, Amal Essa Ali Al Benali Al Muhannadi, Layla Nasser Ibrahim Hassan Al Hail and Hend Khamees Naseeb Al Misned Al Muhannadi for district 20.

Meanwhile, Kholoud Sultan Rashid Sultan Al Kuwari, Aisha Jassem Ali Al Jham Al Kuwari, Fatima Ahmad Khalfan Al Jham Al Kuwari, Muna Subah Saeed Ahmad Al Kuwari and Muneera Essa Mohammed Sultan Al Kuwari will be running for district 22, Nadia Hamad Abdulrahman Al Mannai for district 24, Fatima Ghanem Mohammed Saad Al Kubaisi for district 25, Mashael Hassan Jafal Al Nuaimi for district 26 and Sheikha Matar Dabet Al Dosari for district 27.

5. Only three GCC states elect their councils

While all GCC states have similar councils, Qatar has become only the fourth to allow citizens to vote for the legislative elections.

Kuwait has the longest-serving, majority-elected parliament in the GCC, with the first Kuwaiti National Assembly elected as far back as 1962. Of the 65 members, 50 are voted in, while the Kuwaiti emir chooses the remaining 15.

On the other hand, Oman became the second Gulf state to hold Consultative Assembly elections in 1991. While members are elected, their powers are slightly more limited to other GCC countries.

In 2003, Omani authorities expanded the pool of eligible voters, including women who were the first in the GCC to gain the right to run in the Shura Council election in 1997.

The United Arab Emirates has an advisory Federal National Council, which consists of 40 members with four-year terms. Of the 40 members, 20 are appointed by the rulers, while the other half is elected.

The UAE’s Advisory Council is the only one in the GCC that cannot propose new laws. Still, it can pass or reject federal bills, examine the annual budget, and make recommendations to the Federal Supreme Council.


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