Female Candidates Disappointed in Qatar Polls as non was Elected

The elections sparked a national conversation on electoral participation and citizenship.
1996
Female Candidates Disappointed in Qatar Polls as non was Elected

The election results for Qatar's first legislative council have been revealed, with none of the 26 female candidates winning.

Qatari residents voted on Saturday for two-thirds of the advisory Shura Council in the Gulf Arab state's first parliamentary elections, a process that has sparked internal debate about electoral inclusiveness and citizenship.

The Shura Council has legislative authority and adopts broad state policies and the budget, but it has no voice in determining defence, security, economic, or investment policy for the small but wealthy gas producer, which prohibits political parties from operating.

The interior ministry stated in a statement on Sunday that the turnout for the election of 30 members of the 45-seat council was 63.5 per cent. The remaining 15 members of the Council will be appointed by the emir.

None of the women who ran in the elections was elected, disappointing candidates who had hoped to give women and other Qataris a role in the country's democratic process.

“To have all men is not the vision of Qatar” said Aisha Hamam al-Jasim, a 59-year-old nurse manager in Doha's Markhiya area.

She encouraged Qatari women to begin "voicing what they believe in" and vote for strong female politicians in the future.

Several female candidates sought to promote the integration of children of Qatari women married to foreigners, who, like their counterparts in other Gulf nations, are unable to pass their Qatari nationality on to their children.

Al-Maha Al-Majid, a 34-year-old industrial engineer, ran for office to alter people's opinions.

“To convince the males [to vote for women], yes, we may have to put in work or extra effort… I’m willing to take this extra effort in order to be in and to convince this society that the women can do so” she added.

The elections sparked a national conversation on electoral participation and citizenship.

Tribal tensions were sparked when certain members of a major tribe were denied the right to vote due to a rule that only allowed Qataris whose families had been in the nation before 1930 to vote.