Qataris to elect their first legislative body on Saturday
Qataris will elect 30 members, remaining 15 members will be appointed by the country’s Emir
Qataris are set to cast their votes to elect members for the Shura Council on Saturday in the first legislative elections in the Gulf nation.
On Friday, the electoral silence day started, one day before the elections, in which candidates' campaigns and activities are prohibited, according to the Qatari election law.
The final list of candidates has reached 234. They will contest to win one of the 30 seats of the 45-member Shura Council, whereas the remaining 15 members will be appointed by the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
On July 29, Sheikh Tamim approved an electoral law that allows the Qataris to run and elect 30 of the council's seats in secret and direct voting.
The Shura Council is an advisory and legislative body that discusses and approves general state policies, budgets, and draft law proposals.
Electing the proper candidates
The polling stations are set to open their doors on Saturday morning and the names of winning candidates are expected to be announced on the evening of the election day.
A candidate wins as he gains a relative majority of the number of valid votes.
As the day of elections approaches, calls upon Qataris have increased, urging and encouraging the people to go and cast their votes to elect the best candidates.
- Calls for voting
Qatari writer and academician Abdul-Hamid al-Ansari urged Qataris to give their votes to the most qualified candidates with experience, achievements and a good reputation.
Qatari journalist Ilham Bader also wrote on Twitter, "with our votes, 30 members only will enter the Council, this doesn't mean they are the only efficient, but they are within the series of efficiency that protects the country."
State Minister Hamad al-Kawari shared on Twitter that he "followed with interest the election campaigns for the candidates, I feel proud for its level of efficiency and mutual respect."
- The Council: from appointment to elections
Qatar's Shura Council was established in 1972. It first had 20 appointed members, then in 1975, 10 more were appointed, raising its number of representatives to 30.
In July, Sheikh Tamim approved an electoral law that allows the Qataris to run and elect 30 of the council's seats.
The electoral law is based on a constitution approved in a referendum in 2003. However, the law could be reviewed under the powers of the new Shura Council.
- The new Council
The Shura Council has powers to discuss the general policies, including the country's budget, drafting of law proposals and observing the performance of the government, as well as the power to question ministers.
However, the questioning of a minister can be done only with the approval of at least one-third of the members.
The Shura Council is convened for its ordinary session upon a call by the country's Emir and lasts over eight months as of October of every year.
The council's decisions are approved based on an absolute majority of the members present and in case of equal votes, the council's chairman has a deciding vote power.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.