Qatar to hold Shura Council elections next year: Emir

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani says the Gulf state will hold long-promised elections for top advisory panel in October 2021.

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
In this file photo, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup Final football match between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in Doha on December 8, 2019 [Qatar Emirate Council handout]

Qatar’s emir has said the Gulf state would hold elections for its advisory Shura Council in October 2021, without giving further details.

“This is an important step towards strengthening Qatari advisory traditions and developing the legislative process with wider citizen participation,” Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said while addressing the opening of the Shura Council on Tuesday.

Plans for a partial popular election to the 45-member top advisory council have been delayed for several years.

Last year, the emir ordered the formation of a committee to organise the elections but did not announce a date for the vote.

Following the elections, the council’s power is expected to be expanded to include the ability to dismiss ministers, approve the national budget and propose legislation.

The country’s constitution, approved in a 2003 referendum, calls for elections for 30 seats of the country’s Shura Council, which advises the hereditary rulers. The other 15 seats are appointed by the emir.

It was not immediately clear what eligibility requirements, such as a minimum age, Qatari citizens would have to meet to be able to vote.

In the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, voters are selected by the country’s rulers.

Kuwait and Bahrain both have elected parliaments, which have some influence, though ultimate decision-making rests with the rulers of the Gulf Arab states.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies