Home Middle East & Turkey Middle East Qatar Prepares for Legislative Elections After 15-Year Delay

Qatar Prepares for Legislative Elections After 15-Year Delay

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has announced to hold the elections for Advisory Council after 15 years.

Elections

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has issued a decree for a higher committee to be established and prepare the first-ever elections to the Advisory Council, Qatari media reported on Wednesday. The decision has been taken after much delay. The Emir was expected to announce the date for long-awaited elections.

According to Decision 47 by Al Thani, the committee will be chaired by Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, as well as several ministers and experts, the Qatar News Agency said. Another decree, issued same day, ordered for an ordinary Majlis session to be held on November 5, the agency added.

The move came shortly before a decree made in the last few hours of his father’s rule expired. In 2011, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani pledged to hold legislative elections within two years.

Analysts believe that should the process move forward, Qatar would become the first Gulf Arab monarchy to introduce legislative elections. The small gas-rich nation has faced a trade and political boycott from Arab states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that has disrupted its trade and forced it to rethink alliances.

The date of the election has not been specified. The constitution of Qatar, adopted in 2003, stipulates that 30 members of the Shura Council be elected and 15 others appointed by the emir, yet so far all Qatari lawmakers have been appointees.

The Shura Council is mandated with adopting budgetary parameters, working out and discussing legislative initiatives, and monitoring the work of the ministerial cabinet. For bills to be passed into laws in Qatar, they need to be voted for by two-thirds of lawmakers and be approved by the emir.

Read more: Qatar’s Tourism Industry: His Highness Promises Hidden Treasures For Tourists

Elections Postponed

It is important to note that Qatar’s Emir extended the influential Advisory Council’s term for another three years, effectively postponing legislative elections in 2016. Decree No. 30 of 2016 dismisses the 44th regular session of the council on July 18. This was the first time Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was making such a decision as Emir.

The move came shortly before a decree made in the last few hours of his father’s rule expired. In 2011, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani pledged to hold legislative elections within two years.

However, in the summer of 2013, he yielded his leadership to Sheikh Tamim, and decided to extend the Advisory Council’s term in the midst of the power transition.

In Qatar, no laws can be enacted without first being discussed by the Advisory Council, one of the country’s two legislative wings.

Read more: Dispute Between Qatar and Gulf Neighbors No Longer Acceptable: Kuwait

As it stands, the Emir appoints the members of the council. But according to the constitution, 30 of the council’s members should be elected and 15 appointed.

However, public participation has been postponed for decades, according to legal experts. This has been based on the constitutional provision that “extending the council’s term is permitted if it is found to be in the public’s best interest.”

Facebook Comments