Next Qatar council member elections to be held in May 2015

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Qatar will hold its fifth Central Municipal Council (CMC) elections in May 2015, officials have announced.

The CMC is the country’s only directly elected body, and comprises of 29 members who represent various constituencies around the country.

According to Hukoomi, the council has no legislative powers, and instead serves the following roles:

  • Monitors the implementation of laws, decrees and regulations related to urban and industrial planning, infrastructure and other public systems; and
  • Oversees the economic, financial and administrative management of municipal affairs and agriculture.

The effectiveness of the council has been questioned in recent years because many of the CMC’s requests are not formally acknowledged by authorities.

This year, the CMC sought to hold more authority by requesting judicial powers, but was rebuffed.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s leaders have talked about holding direct elections for the more powerful advisory council for years, with the former leader pledging that they would take place in 2013.

But that vote was postponed for at least three years when the new Emir assumed power last summer.

Re-districting

Only Qataris are eligible to vote in the CMC elections, and all interested in casting a ballot have been asked to re-register their names for the upcoming polls.

That’s because for the first time since the CMC’s inception 15 years ago, the Ministry of Interior has decided to redistrict the map to take into account the changing demographic landscape.

The lines have now been redrawn to form many new constituencies, and to scrap some of the old ones because of depopulation, officials said in a press conference yesterday.

For example, Al Jasra, Bin Imran, Madina Khalifa, Muaither and Al Rayyan have been merged after the number of Qataris in these areas fell over the past several years, Qatar Tribune reports.

Officials added that a committee was formed to study the existing constituencies. According to the Qatar Tribune, redistricting decisions hinged on three factors:

“The first of which was changing of the constituencies according to the Qatari population and density and perceptions of its future. Second, taking into account the nature of the representation in the Council so that it would reflect the different towns and villages in different regions. Third, taking into account the social constitution of the constituencies.”

A map of the new districts, or constituencies, is expected to posted on MOI’s website next week. And a voter registration campaign is expected to kick off after Eid next month.

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