DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar’s ruling emir has ordered that a committee be established to organize the first ever elections to the Shura Council that advises the government of the wealthy Gulf state, state news agency QNA reported.
The committee will be chaired by the country’s prime minister, QNA said.
The decision on Wednesday by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani marks a revival of plans for partial election to the Shura Council, the top advisory body to the government, that have been delayed for several years. Under the plans, 30 members would be elected while another 15 will be appointed by the emir.
Doha looked again at the voting plan after its neighbors Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain launched a diplomatic and trade boycott against it in 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia already have some form of local elections but all members of their Shura councils — which remain without real legislative power — are appointed by the rulers. Kuwait and Bahrain’s parliaments are elected and enjoy relatively more influence.
Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim took power in 2013 after his father Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani abdicated, taking the rare step for a Gulf Arab ruler of voluntarily ceding power to try to ensure a smooth succession.
Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi and Eric Knecht; Editing by Catherine Evans