Dr. Khalid Al-Shafi
As a continuation of the process of building institutions of the modern state, Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, announced during speech he delivered at the opening of the 49th session of the Shura Council on November 3, 2020, that the country will witness the first free elections for the Shura Council in October 2021. The election comes in accordance with the provisions of the permanent Constitution, which the Qatari people approved in 2003 through a public referendum.
The Constitution was the first step towards embodying the vision of the Father Amir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani for laying the foundations of a developed state and society by ensuring the exercise of the rights, duties and freedoms which were guaranteed by the Constitution.
Of course, such a huge step aimed at promoting popular participation cannot take place without making the necessary preparations for it, and this is what H H the Amir indicated during the opening of the 46th session of the Shura Council on November 14, 2017 when he stressed that “the government is currently preparing for the Advisory Council elections, including drafting legislative measures necessary to ensure that these elections are conducted perfectly well, so as to avoid the need for further amendment in each stage. There are legal shortcomings and legal issues that must be addressed beforehand, in order to have a fair Advisory Council’s elections”.
Indeed, this announcement was followed by an Amiri decision in October 2019 to establish a higher committee to prepare for the Shura Council elections.
The approval of the draft law on Shura Council elections by the Cabinet recently is a completion of these preparations and that the arena will be open in October this year for the first free elections in which the candidates will compete to move forward towards building institutions based on the established traditions of justice and rational governance of our beloved country.
We realise the importance of the Amir’s decision in 2017 to appoint four women for the membership of the Shura Council, a step that was seen at the time as the first-of-its-kind in the region, but in fact it was carried out within the framework of the gradual construction process and the preparation for this step which requires participation of all segments of the society.
This step comes in implementation of the directives of H H the Amir and within the framework of his vision to strengthen the Qatari traditions of Shura and develop legislative institutions to ensure greater participation of citizens.
The experience of popular participation in the Shura Council elections is considered to meet the requirements of the comprehensive development and renaissance that the country has witnessed for more than two decades. Progress at all social and economic levels, and prosperity enjoyed have placed the country among developed nations.
Achievements made at all levels have formed a solid ground for strengthening the foundations for building a modern nation and its institutions under the leadership of H H the Amir and under the security, safety, peace and stability the country enjoys.
There is no doubt that this step will strengthen the cohesion between the leadership and the people, and strengthen public participation in choosing competencies to push towards building a stronger society hence will take my country from a success to another in all fields of progress and development for a prosperous future.