No woman was elected in the first national elections in Qatar. According to preliminary results, 44 percent of eligible voters took part in the elections.
In the first national election to the Shura, an advisory body in Qatar, no woman was given a seat. The Consultative Assembly has 45 members and supports the ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The emir determines 15 of the shura members. The body can pass laws and approve the basic lines of state policy and the state budget. The Shura does not have control over the executive powers such as the police and the military. The economic and investment policy of the wealthy world’s largest exporter of liquefied gas is also not subject to the committee.
233 candidates from 30 districts applied for the 30 seats of the Shura, including 26 women. Men and women voted separately.
Voting is an experiment
According to the human rights organization “Human Rights Watch”, thousands of people in Qatar were excluded from the elections. Fifteen people were arrested during protests against the Qatari electoral law.
Qatar’s deputy prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, described the vote as a new experiment last month. He said the Shura could not expect to have full parliamentary rights in the first year.
The expert Kristin Smith Diwan from the Washington Institute for Gulf Arab States said that the top of the emirate has so far proceeded cautiously and limited participation in decision-making processes. In addition, the ruling house retains control over political debates and their results. “Over time, however, the Qataris might see their roles and rights differently if this public body develops,” she said, referring to the newly elected Shura. The first national election in Qatar will take place in the run-up to the soccer World Cup in Doha next year.