Voting is unprecedented. The Qataris voted on Saturday, October 2, to elect a majority of their legislators. As a result, the balance of power should not be changed in this wealthy Gulf country where the ruling family and political parties are banned.
Voters were called to elect 30 of the 45 members of the Majlis al-Shura. The latter may propose laws, approve the budget, or reject ministers, rights that did not exist before him. Until then, all members of this council were appointed by Amir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. But the latter will retain the veto right over the decisions taken.
The Home Ministry said 30 seats to be filled were won by male candidates. None of the twenty-eight women allowed to run were selected. The Emir of Qatar, who is responsible for appointing the other fifteen members of the Majlis al-Shura, can further reduce this inequality by appointing women. It is unknown when he will announce these appointments, and when the board will hold its inaugural meeting.
Half the candidates leave on the same day
According to official figures, 63.5% of the vote was cast.
“Earlier in the day, I heard a lot of people say they would not vote. We hoped it would not make any difference, but we saw a lot of voters.”, A member of the organizing committee for elections in Doha, said Abdullah al-Ghouri at the same time.
Qatar, the world’s largest producer and exporter of liquefied petroleum gas, has a majority of 2.5 million foreigners, so they could not vote. Of the 330,000 Qataris, only descendants of the country’s citizens already have the right to vote and stand as candidates in the 1930s, after which normal families are automatically disqualified.
Prominent members of the Al-Ma’ra tribe were excluded from the election, which sparked heated discussions on social media.
According to the state-run Qatar New Agency, 233 candidates fielded themselves. They all need to get approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs. But according to state television, 101 of those candidates cast ballots on polling day to support other contestants in their constituencies. “If candidates feel they have no chance of winning a seat, they decide to support other candidates.”Note by Professor Andreas Creek of King’s College London.
Internationally surveyed vote
This first legislative referendum was held by direct universal suffrage, granted by the Constitution in 2004 but repeatedly postponed, while the country was under international scrutiny.
A year before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, officials hope to hold these elections “Attracting Positive Attention” About the country, says Luciano Sakkara, a Gulf expert at the University of Qatar.
Despite a few political rallies, during the campaign all candidates avoided discussing their country’s foreign policy or the status of the monarchy, preferring to focus on social issues such as health, education or human rights.
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