Qatari vote in country’s first parliamentary elections

DOHA, Oct. 2 (Reuters) – Qataris started met vote on Saturday in the Arab Gulf State first parliamentary elections for two-thirds of the advisory Shura Council in An vote die the domestic debate over has fueled electoral inclusion and citizenship.

Voters trickled into polling stations, where men and women went separate sections in to choose 30 members of the 45-seater body. The ruling emir will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members of the Council.

“With the chance until vote, I feel this is a new chapter,” Munira, who writes children’s books and asked to be identified by only one name, Reuters told Reuters. “I am very happy met the number of women stand as candidates.”

The Council have and approve legislative powers general state policy and the budget, but has no control over executive bodies die determine defence, security, economy and investment policy for the small but rich gas producer, die bans political parties.

Last government lists showed 26 women among approximately 183 candidates in 30 districts in the country that for community polls for several years.

Campaigning has lasted place on social media, community meetings and billboards along the way.

“This is a first-time experience for me … to be here and meet people to talk over these things die we need’ said Khalid Almutawah, a candidate in the Markhiya district.

“At the end of this day, the people of Qatar, they are going to join of the decision make,” said another male candidate in same district, Sabaan Al Jassim, 65.

The vote denotes the ruling al-Thani. from Qatar to family is “taking the idea seriously” of symbolically share power, but also effective sharing power institutional with other Qatari tribal groups,” said Allen Fromherz, director of Middle East Studies Center at Georgia State University.

The election, approved in a 2003 constitutional referendum is coming of Doha hosts the World Cup tournament next year. Critics have said the ability to vote is too limited.

A MOOD ‘EXPERIMENT’

deputy of Qatar prime minister and foreign ministerSheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, last month described the vote like a new “experiment” and said that the Council cannot be expected from the first year around the “full role of each parliament”.

Kuwait has been the only Gulf monarchy die give substantial powers to elected parliament although ultimate decision-make rest with the ruler, if in neighboring states.

The huge number of foreign workers in Qatar, the world’s top supplier of liquefied natural gas, means that nationals make up only 10% of the population of 2.8 million. Even then not all Qataris come in eligible for vote.

The polls have fueled tribal sensibilities after some members of An main tribe did not come in eligible for vote under a law die restricting voting to Qataris whose family was present in the country before 1930. read more

The foreign minister said there was a “clear Process” for review the electoral law by the next Shura Council.

“The Qatari leadership has proceeded cautiously and has limited participation.” in important manners and maintaining important controls over the political debate and the results,” said Kristin Smith Diwan of the Institute of the Arab Gulf States in Washington.

But popular politics is unpredictable, she said. “Over time, Qataris can grow to role and rights other than this public forum develops.”

Human Rights Watch has said thousands of Qataris are barred from voting.

The organization said Qatar has arrested about 15 protesters and critics of the electoral law during small protests in August led by members of the Al Murra tribe.

A Qatari source with knowledge of the case said on friday two people remain in guardianship”for incitement to violence and hate speech”.

Writing by Lisa Barrington and Ghaida Ghantous Editing by Frances Kerry and Helen Popper

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Read More: World News

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