Campaigns end on eve of first national vote in Qatar

The two-week campaign window for the council election ended 24 hours before voting began on Saturday.

Shura Council’s two-week election campaign window ended on Friday [Getty]

Qatar’s election campaign ended on Friday, on the eve of the country’s first-ever national vote.

The two-week campaign window for the council election ended 24 hours before voting began on Saturday.

Polling stations will open at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m., according to the Qatari Interior Ministry, which has urged citizens to make their vote count.

The Qataris will elect 30 members of the 45-seat Shura Council on October 2, while Al Thani will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members.

The Council will have the legislative power and will approve the general policies of the State and the budget. It will also exercise control over the executive, with the exception of the bodies defining defence, security, economic and investment policy.

The currently unelected Shura Council advises the ruler of the state, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, on draft laws, but does not create its own legislation.

Nearly 300 candidates are standing for election, including 28 women. Four women were appointed to the board by Al-Thani in 2017.

Council elections, required by the country’s 2004 constitution, have been postponed several times and the members of the body have been directly appointed by the emir.

Only ethnic Qatari citizens who make up only a tiny fraction of the population can vote on Saturday.

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