Qatar: First legislative elections see 63.5% voter turnout

World Sunday 03/October/2021 11:11 AM
By: DW
Qatar: First legislative elections see 63.5% voter turnout
Men and women voted in separate sections

Doha: Qatari citizens voted for the first time in elections on Saturday for an advisory council, a process that has prompted domestic debate about electoral inclusion and citizenship.

Qataris headed to the polls to choose 30 members of the 45-member Shura Council, which drafts laws, approves state budgets, debates major issues and provides advice to the ruling Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

The Gulf country first introduced plans for the legislative elections in its 2003 constitution, but authorities repeatedly postponed the vote.

Even though the long-delayed measure appeared to aim to give Qataris more say over how they're ruled, the Shura Council has no say in the matters of defence, security, economic and investment policy.  

Despite 28 women initially being cleared to run in the polls, male candidates were elected in all 30 seats, according to the tally reported by local media.

Turnout for the elections was around 63.5%, officials said.

 Foreign workers outnumber Qatari citizens in the small but wealthy nation of 2.8 million nearly nine to one.

The 2022 World Cup has generated pressure for reform in the  nation.

Qatar's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, last month described the vote as a new "experiment," and said the Council cannot be expected from the first year to have the "full role of any parliament."