Qatar sets first legislative elections in October 2021
Qatar will hold its first-ever legislative elections in October 2021, which is seen as a key step towards democracy in the country. Qatari citizens will be able to vote for 30 members of the 45-seat legislative council while the remaining 15 members will be selected by the Amir.
The election campaign is set to kick off once the names of the candidates are announced, and voting will take place for one day in October. The stages of the electoral process begin with voter’s registration, publishing the initial list, acceptance of grievance and adjudication, and publishing the final list of voters. The voters registration process started August 1 until 5th, and the final list of voters to be announced on August 8th. The registration process is simplified so that citizens, who are mostly on summer holidays, can apply through Metrash2 application, or by text message, or by personally attending any of the electoral headquarters.
The candidates registration process will be overseen by a candidates committee consisting of five representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, including the chairman and his deputy, a judge of the Court of Appeal, a public lawyer from the Public Prosecution, a representative from the National Human Rights Committee, and a representative of civil society chosen by the minister.
Several candidates have started announcing their interest in running for the legislative council through their social media accounts urging prospective voters to register for the sake of nation building. The Ministry of Interior has issued related directives on election process, election laws, campaign financing and candidacy application process. Campaign financing is limited to two million Qatar Riyals with the option to appeal if the candidate wants to spend more.
Many Qataris have expressed their views through Twitter accounts urging youth to take part in the upcoming elections and represent their constituencies. The call for new faces and ideas reflects the demographics of the Qatari society which is predominantly under the age of 30s, highly educated and with entrepreneurial life style.
Today's newspapers include full-pages ads announcing their services for campaign management and promoting candidates to win the elections.
As part of the democratic atmosphere nowadays in Qatar there are a number of op-eds in local newspapers and comments in social media about the election process, election law and the profiles of those seeking candidacy. Clearly the vocal majority in social media calls for youth to compete and come with new ideas to serve their country, while urging voters to be selective and choose candidates based on experience, qualification, public service and national perspectives.
Foresight Communications Consultancy will keep a close eye on this historic election that will pave a way for Qatar's prosperous future towards democracy and participation in decision making and nation building.