Qatar’s emir promises Shura Council elections next year

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar’s emir announced on Tuesday that the country will hold long-promised elections for its top advisory panel next year.

In a speech before the legislative body, known as the Shura Council, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said the first-ever vote will take place in October 2021. He described it as “an important step” for the tiny energy-rich Gulf state to “develop the legislative process with a wider participation of citizens.”

Last year, Sheikh Tamim ordered the formation of a committee to organize elections, but never announced a date for the vote. Following elections, the council’s power would be expanded to include the ability to dismiss ministers, approve the national budget and propose legislation.

The country’s constitution, approved in a 2003 referendum, calls for elections for 30 seats of the country’s Shura Council, which advises the hereditary rulers. The other 15 seats are appointed by the emir.

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