Politics of Qatar

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Qatar

The political system of Qatar is an absolute monarchy, with the Emir of Qatar as head of state and head of government. Under the 2003 constitutional referendum it should become a constitutional monarchy.[1] In November 2011, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani announced the first legislative election to take place in 2013, following a series of postponements.[2][3]

Executive branch[edit]

In Qatar, the ruling Al Thani (ال ثاني) family continued to hold power following the declaration of independence in 1971. The head of state is the Emir, and the right to rule Qatar is passed on within the Al Thani family. Politically, Qatar is evolving from a traditional society into a modern welfare state. Government departments have been established to meet the requirements of social and economic progress. The Basic Law of Qatar 1970 institutionalized local customs rooted in Qatar's conservative Islamic heritage, granting the Emir preeminent power. The Emir's role is influenced by continuing traditions of consultation, rule by consensus, and the citizen's right to appeal personally to the Emir. The Emir, while directly accountable to no one, cannot violate the Sharia (Islamic law) and, in practice, must consider the opinions of leading notables and the religious establishment. Their position was institutionalized in the Advisory Council, an appointed body that assists the Emir in formulating policy. There is no electoral system. Political parties are banned.

The influx of expatriate Arabs has introduced ideas that call into question the tenets of Qatar's traditional society, but there has been no serious challenge to Al Thani rule.

In February 1972, the Deputy Ruler and Prime Minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, deposed his cousin, Emir Ahmad, and assumed power. This move was supported by the key members of Al Thani and took place without violence or signs of political unrest.

On 27 June 1995, the Deputy Ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, deposed his father, Emir Khalifa, in a bloodless coup. Emir Hamad and his father reconciled in 1996. Increased freedom of the press followed, and the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television channel (founded late 1996) is widely regarded as an example of free and uncensored source of news in Arab countries.[citation needed]

On 25 June 2013 Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani became the Emir of Qatar after his father Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani handed over power in a televised speech.[4]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani 25 June 2013
Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani 25 June 2013

Ministries[edit]

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs
    • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
  • Minister of Defense
  • Minister of the Interior
  • Ministry of Public Health
  • Ministry of Energy and Industry
  • Ministry of Municipal and Urban Planning
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Culture Arts and Heritage
  • Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
  • Ministry of Education and Higher Education
  • Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs
  • Amiri Diwan - Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani
  • Investment Promotion Department
  • Supreme Council for Family Affairs
  • Supreme Judiciary Council
  • Public Prosecution
  • Qatar News Agency - replaced the Minister of Information

Source: Ministry of Interior[5]

Consultative Assembly[edit]

The Consultative Assembly (Majlis as-Shura) has 35 appointed members with only consultative tasks. However, the 2003 Constitution of Qatar calls for a 45 member elected Legislature, which is to be made up of 30 elected representatives and 15 appointed by the Emir. In 2006, Prime Minister Al Thani – then the Deputy PM – announced that elections would be held in 2007. However, only a legislative council to review the subject was created that year. The actual elections have been postponed three times; most recently in June 2010,[6] when the Emir extended the Consultative Assembly's tenure until 2013.[7]


e • d Composition of the Consultative Assembly of Qatar
Members Seats
Appointed members 35
Total 35

Political parties and elections[edit]

Qatar held a constitutional referendum in 2003, which was overwhelmingly supported. The first municipal elections with men and women voters and candidates were held in 2007 and 2011. The first legislative election, for two thirds of the legislative council's 45 seats, are planned for 2013.[2][3]

Suffrage is currently limited to municipal elections and two thirds of the seats in the legislative council, with the voting age set at 18. Expatriate residents are excluded, as are the vast number of residents who are prevented from applying for citizenship. The elected Municipal Council has no executive powers but may offer advice to the Minister.

Legal system[edit]

Qatar has a mixed legal system of civil law and Islamic law (in family and personal matters).[8]

Human rights[edit]

To western eyes, the Qatari authorities seem to keep a relatively tight rein on freedom of expression and moves for equality.[citation needed] The Freedom in the World 2010 report by Freedom House lists Qatar as "Not Free", and on a 1–7 scale (1 being the most "free") rates the country a 6 for political rights and 5 for civil liberties. As of 2011, the Democracy Index describes Qatar as an "authoritarian regime" with a score of 3.18 out of ten, and it ranks 138th out of the 167 countries covered.

Administrative divisions[edit]

9 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ad Dawhah, Al Ghuwayriyah, Al Jumayliyah, Al Khawr, Al Wakrah, Al Rayyan, Jarayan al Batinah, Madinat ash Shamal, Umm Salal.

Foreign relations[edit]

According to BBC, in April 2006 Qatar announced that it will give US$50 million (£28 million) to the new Hamas-led Palestinian government. Hamas, an ally of Iran and Hezbollah, is considered by the US and the EU to be a terrorist organization.

In May 2006, Qatar pledged more than $100 million to Hurricane Katrina relief to colleges and universities in Louisiana affected by the hurricane. Some of this money was also distributed to families looking to repair damaged homes by Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, Inc.

Qatar is member of ABEDA, AFESD, AL, AMF, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, and WTO.

On October 10, 2005, for the first time, Qatar was elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council for 2006–2007.

The Qatari government is the primary benefactor of the Al Jazeera television network. The network is accused of biased reporting against some governments. This has led to strained relations between Qatar and some governments in the region who see the Qatari government as responsible for Al Jazeera's purportedly incendiary reporting.[9]

In 2011, Qatar joined NATO operations in Libya and reportedly armed Libyan opposition groups.[10] It is also a major funder of weapons for rebel groups in the Syrian civil war.[11]

Most of the developed countries (plus Brunei and Indonesia) are exempt from visa requirements. Citizens of exempted countries can also request a joint visa that allows them to travel to Oman as well.[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. It is technically a constitutional monarchy, as it has a constitution. Despite this, it is absolute in practise.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cavendish, Marshall. World and Its Peoples: Arabian Peninsula. p. 64. 
  2. ^ a b "Qatar elections to be held in 2013 - Emir". BBC News. 2011-11-01. Archived from the original on 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  3. ^ a b Agarwal, Hina (2011-11-09). "Qatar to hold elections in 2013". Arabian Gazette. Archived from the original on 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  4. ^ "Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad hands power to son Tamim". BBC. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  5. ^ http://www.moi.gov.qa/site/english/links/index.html
  6. ^ http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=266087&version=1&template_id=57&parent_id=56
  7. ^ http://www.qatarliving.com/node/1109666
  8. ^ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/qa.html
  9. ^ Al Jazeera helps people against Arab regimes, angers oppressors Sunday's Zaman. Poyraz-Dogan,Yonca. February 6, 2011.
  10. ^ "Qatar profile". BBC News. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Roula Khalaf and Abigail Fielding Smith (16 May 2013). "Qatar bankrolls Syrian revolt with cash and arms". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Visa Rules in Qatar". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 

External links[edit]