The Qatari emir approved a new electoral law on Thursday for its first legislative election, which will be held in October.
An Emiri decree approved on Thursday allows the Shura Council to elect two-thirds of its 45 members, or 30 members, a year before the soccer tournament. In addition, the emir will continue to appoint the 15 remaining members.
Qataris approved a new constitution in a referendum in 2003, though only 10% of the country’s population voted for partial elections. The council is currently appointed by the government. It had been a while since the polls were held.
Although Qatar is a country that bans political parties, it already conducts municipal elections. The country aims to improve the rights of migrant workers, following accusations of labor abuse and an embargo imposed in mid-2017 by fellow Arab states on diplomacy, trade, and travel.
In the new law, citizens over 18, whose grandfather is Qatari, have the right to cast a vote in the districts where their tribes or families reside. Qualified applicants must be Qatari and 30 years old or older. Among its 30 electoral districts will be one candidate for each district, and the nation is the world’s top producer of liquefied natural gas.
The law prohibits Qataris convicted of “crimes of moral turpitude or dishonesty” from voting or running unless they have been rehabilitated. Members of the judicial system, military personnel, and municipal council members cannot run while in those positions. A campaign can spend no more than 2 million riyals.
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