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Only a small part is allowed to vote when Qatar goes to the polls

Only a small part is allowed to vote when Qatar goes to the polls

An advisory board, which decides legislation and the state budget, will be elected in the first nationwide elections.

Two-thirds of the council’s members, that is, 30 members, are elected in the same number of constituencies. The remaining 15 members are appointed by Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who also has veto power over all decisions made by the council.

Most of the candidates are men. According to Agence France-Presse, of the 284 who turned up, only 28 are women.

– The group is advisory only, and political power will remain with the ruling family, says Christian Coates Ulrichsen, a researcher on Middle East affairs and author of several books on politics in the region.

Country in the spotlight

Qatar is the richest country in the world in terms of per capita GDP. On the other hand, just over a tenth of its 2.7 million residents are citizens. The vast majority of the population are guest workers, whose substandard living conditions are often criticized by the outside world.

The appointment of the parish by the people is written in the country’s constitution since 2005, but the elections have been postponed several times. It is believed that the reason for her contract now is due to the fact that Qatar received the attention of the world before the 2022 World Cup, which the country is hosting.

Qatar has also enhanced its influence internationally through peace talks between the now ousted government in Afghanistan and the Taliban, as well as its role in evacuating people from Afghanistan.

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– The prince realizes that the international spotlight is on Qatar, says Christian Coates Ulrichsen.

Fractions are allowed to vote

Polling stations opened at 8 am local time. However, the proportion of the population allowed to participate in the elections is very small. This summer, the emir introduced new election laws that restricted the right to vote even among those who were actually citizens. In order to be able to vote, it must be possible to prove that you have ancestors who lived in Qatar in 1930, that is, before the country discovered oil.

Protests erupted against this change in the election law and many of the emir’s critics were imprisoned.

Organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounce the limited voting rights.