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In modest step, Qatar holds its 1st legislative council vote

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatari residents voted for the primary time in elections for an advisory council on Saturday —…

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatari residents voted for the primary time in elections for an advisory council on Saturday — a long-delayed step that goals to offer folks within the autocratic sheikhdom barely extra say over how they’re dominated.

The “experiment,” as Qatari officers have described the vote, comes because the 2022 World Cup casts a world highlight on the hereditarily dominated nation and generates strain for reform. Qatar first launched plans for the legislative elections in its 2003 structure, however authorities repeatedly postponed the vote.

Qataris on Saturday headed to the polls to decide on two-thirds of the 45-member Shura Council, which drafts legal guidelines, approves state budges, debates main points and offers recommendation to ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The physique doesn’t have sway, nonetheless, over issues of protection, safety and the financial system.

The overwhelming majority of the practically 300 candidates are males, with practically all hailing from the identical household or tribe in a number of districts.

The nation’s electoral regulation, which distinguishes between born and naturalized Qatari residents, and bars the latter from electoral participation, has drawn criticism from rights teams. In a report final month, Human Rights Watch described the system as “discriminatory,” excluding 1000’s of Qataris from working or voting. The disqualifications have sparked minor tribal protests that led to a number of arrests.

Sheikh Tamim, who beforehand elected all of the council members, will handpick the remaining 15 members of the physique and retain final authority over decision-making within the energy-rich nation. Like different Gulf Arab states, Qatar bans political events. Overseas staff outnumber Qatari residents within the tiny nation of two.8 million practically 9 to at least one.

Among the many sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf, solely Kuwait’s parliament has real sway over the federal government, with lawmakers empowered to introduce legal guidelines and query ministers. The elected physique, nonetheless, clashes often and raucously with the emir-appointed Cupboard, blocking main initiatives and hampering financial improvement.

The transfer brings Qatar extra consistent with the United Arab Emirates, the place residents vote for a restricted variety of seats in a consultative parliament that advises the federal government.

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https://wtop.com/middle-east/2021/10/in-modest-step-qatar-holds-its-1st-legislative-council-vote/ | In modest step, Qatar holds its 1st legislative council vote

Aila Slisco

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