Qatar sets up supervisory body for first legislative elections

DUBAI: Qatar has set up a committee to oversee its first legislative elections, due to be held in October, its interior ministry said on Sunday.

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The elections will be for two-thirds, or 30 members, of the 45-seat advisory Shura Council. The ruling emir will appoint 15 members, rather than the entire council as he does today.

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Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani, who also serves as interior minister, ordered the establishment of a supervisory committee which will be headed by interior ministry officials, the ministry said on Twitter.

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Qatar, which already has municipal elections, has yet to publish the electoral system law for the Shura Council or set an exact date for the vote.  

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Sheikh Khalid last month said that a draft electoral law approved by the cabinet in May would put limits on campaign spending and criminalise foreign funding and vote-buying.

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He said the small but wealthy country, the world’s top liquefied natural gas supplier which will host the 2022 soccer World Cup, had been divided into 30 electoral districts.

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Qataris account for around 10% of the roughly 2.7 million population, most of whom are foreign workers.

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Kuwait is the only Gulf state to give substantial powers to an elected parliament, which can block laws and question ministers, though ultimate decision-making rests with the ruler.

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