Doha: Qatar will hold its maiden legislative
polls in 2013, the emir of the Gulf state, which has backed
pro-democracy uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world, said
"We have decided to organise elections for Majlis al-Shura
(consultative council) in the second half of 2013," Sheikh
Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani said addressing the all-appointed
council, QNA state news agency reported.
"All these steps are necessary to build the modern state
of Qatar," he said, referring to the passing of a constitution
and staging of municipal polls.
Qatar`s constitution which was passed in a 2003 referendum
stipulated that two thirds of the 45-member council would be
elected, while the rest would be named by the emir. It also
provided for legislative powers.
But so far Qatar, which took part in the NATO-led military
campaign that helped to oust Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi,
has only held municipal polls and continues to ban political
In 2008, the Shura council passed a new electoral law
setting the voting age at 18 and laying down rules for
campaign funding and outlaws vote-buying.
Qatar has some 200,000 citizens out of a resident
population of some 1.7 million people.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the only Gulf states yet to
hold legislative polls. But the authorities of most of the
fully or partially elected parliaments in other Gulf countries
are checked by upper chambers appointed by the rulers.