Voting for Legislative Elections began in Qatar
Qatar– Voting began today in Qatar for state’s first legislative elections for two-thirds of the advisory Shura Council. During the voting, a domestic debate was stirred between the voters over electoral inclusion and citizenship.
Voters began trickling into polling stations, where men and women entered separate sections to elect 30 members of the 45-seat body. The ruling emir will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members of the Council. Munira, who is an author for children’s book, mentions that with the chance to vote she feel this is a new chapter. She is elated that about the number of women standing as candidates.
The Council will enjoy legislative authority and approve general state policies and the budget, but has no control over executive bodies. This policy has definetly set defence, security, economic and investment policy for the small but wealthy gas producer, which ban political parties.
Among the 183 candidates, there are 18 women who are hoping to be elected at stations across 30 districts in the country, which has for several years held municipal polls.
It is noted that among all the gulf nations, only Kuwait has made a move towards empowering voters, with a fully elected parliament. Yet its quasi-democracy contributed to dysfunctional policy making. The ballot in Qatar, enabled under a 2003 constitution, won’t dilute the ruling dynasty’s power in the same way.
Sofia Meranto, who is a Gulf analyst at Eurasia Groupasserted that the authorities are really looking to maintain a grip on the process, the candidates, and to a degree, the outcome. The changes will be mostly cosmetic for now, but opening up public debate space creates long-term risks.