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Friday, October 22, 2021

Vote explainer: Your complete guide to Qatar’s Shura elections


With the date of Qatar’s historic Shura Council election fast approaching, here is your complete guide to everything you need to know about voting this Saturday.

Qatar’s long-awaited Shura elections, the first-ever legislative elections, are set to kick off this Saturday, marking a major milestone for the Gulf state.

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

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.

Previously, the amir used to appoint all 45 members of the Shura, which is chosen every four years. According to sources knowledgeable with the matter, elections will now be taking place every four years to give citizens the right to choose their representatives.

As these are the first legislative elections, here’s everything you need to know on where, when and how to vote this week.

Who’s running?

In accordance with Amiri Decree No. 37 of 2021, the country is divided into 30 electoral districts, each of which will elect one representative. There are currently 284 candidates from all districts campaigning to earn their seats on the council. 

As per law, all candidates are ‘native Qatari’ and aged 30 and above. They are all also fluent in reading and writing in Arabic.

For the full list of candidates running in Qatar’s first Shura Council elections click here. District 5 has already confirmed Hassan Abdullah Ghanim AlGhanim Al Maadeed, the sole candidate, as its representative.

Who can vote?.

Qatari citizens who are aged 18 by the time the final electoral lists are announced are eligible to vote. Those who have been nationalised are only eligible if their paternal grandfather was born in the country.

Members of all the armed forces including military officers and civil servants can also vote on the condition that they are fully competent and “have not been sentenced to a final judgment in a crime involving moral turpitude or dishonesty unless they have been rehabilitated in accordance with the law”.

Read also: 40 women submit nominations for Qatar’s Shura Council elections

Each person will vote in districts  according to their permanent address which is based on “the place of residence of the tribe or family.” Accordingly, each electoral district will have a list of citizens eligible for voting and their names must meet the requirements stipulated as per law. 

The interior ministry [MOI] has also established a Voters’ Committee to prepare, review and announce the voters’ lists.

Those whose names are not on the list will not be allowed to participate in the elections.

What time/date you can vote: 

The country’s first legislative vote will take place on 2 October, as per an announcement by Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

All registered voters across all electoral districts will be called to cast their votes for the much-awaited elections on the same day from 8am to 6pm. 

Where to vote?

Those who registered to vote earlier in August and received a text message confirming their request has been approved can head to their assigned voting district on 2 October to cast their vote in-person.

Those eligible can find the location of the electoral constituencies for the Shura Council Elections in each district here. The location will depend on the voter’s district as listed on their QID. 

Sources knowledgeable with the matter confirmed to Doha News that eligible voters can only vote for one person at the polling stations.

Process & results:

The list of winning candidates across all 30 districts will be announced on the same day at 8pm.

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