The draft law for the by-election of the 45-member senior advisory board sets out the rules under which the October vote will take place.
Qatar’s cabinet has passed a bill on elections to the nation’s Shura Council that are scheduled for October, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Wednesday.
The bill for the by-election to the 45-member senior advisory board sets out the rules under which voting will take place. It is not yet clear on what date the elections will be held in October.
In November last year, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ordered the formation of a committee to organize the vote, after a delay of several years.
The Qatari electorate can vote for 30 members of the Shura Council, while another 15 will be nominated by the emir.
Under the draft law, government employees are allowed to propose to join the Shura Council and keep their jobs if elected.
The bill facilitates the electoral registration process, including electronic registration, and sets a spending limit on election campaigns at QAR 2 million per candidate. It will monitor the origin of the funds.
Candidates are obliged to avoid tribal or sectarian rhetoric and must respect public morals, traditions and the religious and social values of society. The bill also prohibits offending other candidates or provoking conflicts in any way.
The bill includes provisions to ensure that public and private media are impartial in their coverage and treatment of all candidates.
Ministers, members of the judiciary, members of all military agencies and members of the central city council are banned from running in elections, according to the bill.
A committee headed by a judge elected by the Supreme Judicial Council will be responsible for overseeing the voting and counting process, as well as announcing the results.
The draft law also describes “severe sanctions” for electoral crimes, such as foreign interference, vote buying or other infractions.
Following the election, the power of the Shura Council is expected to be expanded to include the ability to remove ministers, approve the national budget and propose legislation.
In the neighboring United Arab Emirates, the country’s rulers select voters.
Kuwait and Bahrain have elected parliaments, which have various oversight powers, with no governance mandate. The designation of the government corresponds to the rulers of the Arab states of the Gulf.