Legislative elections in Qatar postponed until at least 2019

Emiri Diwan

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Emiri Diwan

Qatar’s Emir has extended the influential Advisory Council’s term for another three years, effectively postponing legislative elections until at least 2019.

Decree No. 30 of 2016 dismisses the 44th regular session of the council on July 18.

And Emiri decision No. 25 of 2016 will extend the council’s new term to June 30, 2019, QNA reports.

This is the first time Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is making such a decision as Emir. The move comes shortly before a decree made in the last few hours of his father’s rule expires.

Legislative elections

In 2011, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani pledged to hold legislative elections within two years.

However, in the summer of 2013, he yielded his leadership to Sheikh Tamim, and decided to extend the Advisory Council’s term in the midst of the power transition.

In Qatar, no laws can be enacted without first being discussed by the Advisory Council, one of the country’s two legislative wings.

As it stands, the Emir appoints the members of the council. But according to the constitution, 30 of the council’s members should be elected and 15 appointed.

However, public participation has been postponed for decades, according to legal experts. This has been based on the constitutional provision that “extending the council’s term is permitted if it is found to be in the public’s best interest.”

It is unclear what will happen in 2019. If the council term’s is extended again, then it’s possible elections would be held before the session expires in 2022.

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