Qatar’s first legislative polls for two-thirds of the advisory Shura Council will be held on October 2, according to a decree issued by the ruling emir on Sunday.
Qataris will elect 30 members of the 45-seat body while Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members.
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The council will have legislative authority and approve general state policies and the budget. It will also exercise control over the executive, except for bodies setting defence, security, economic and investment policy.
Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Bin Abdulaziz Al Thani called on citizens “to participate positively in the first elections to be held in the history of the State of Qatar to form the elected Shura Council”, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.
“The principle in these elections is the complete conviction that Qataris are equal in rights and duties, and that this principle is achieved by observing the provisions of the Constitution, national traditions and stable customs, and through the established legal and constitutional tools and procedures,” Sheikh Khalid said.
Kuwait is currently the only Gulf monarchy to give substantial powers to an elected parliament, which can block laws and question ministers, though ultimate decision-making rests with the ruler as in neighbouring states.
The October polls have sparked some debate on electoral inclusion after some members of a tribe found themselves ineligible to vote under a law restricting voting to Qataris whose family was present in Qatar before 1930.
The electoral law, based on a constitution approved in a 2003 referendum, could be reviewed by a new Shura Council.