Suffrage Universel
Processus de démocratisation

Democratisation in Qatar

the political situation
municipal elections

Qatar is one of the Persian Gulf monarchies. It became independent on 3 September 1971. Beforehand, it was a British protectorate, like other small states in the region, of whom most (except for Qatar, Bahrein and Oman) joined in a Federation: the United Arab Emirates, consisting of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras-al-Khaimah, Fujeira, Ajman, Umm al-Qiwayn.

A provisional constitution was enacted on 19 April 1972, providing for an elected assembly. However, there is only a Majlis as-Shura (Consultative Assembly), composed of 35 appointed members with only consultative tasks. No parties are allowed in Qatar. According to the CIA Factbook, no elections have been held since 1970, when there were partial elections to the body; Council members have had their terms extended every four years since.

Regional upheavals have shown little sign as yet of prompting a liberalisation of Qatar's autocratic political system. However, the presentation of a petition in January 1992 to the Amir, signed by 50 prominent Qataris and demanding the establishment of a consultative assembly (a majlis as-shura, similar to that existing in other Gulf states) shows that there is pressure for reform.(source: Columbus Travel Guides)

On 27 June 1995, Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani took power, evicting his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani from the throne through a bloodless coup. An organised attempt by prominent supporters of the deposed Amir was thwarted in February 1996.

In 1998, the first steps towards the organization of municipal elections were taken. These elections should take place in march 1999. Only Qatari nationals (male and female), who represent about 20% of the population, will have voting rights for these elections.

The Qatari political system

1. from Arabnet

2. from Helem Chapin Metz (ed.), Persian Gulf states - Qatar. A country study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Research Completed January 1993

3. from Arab World Online

4. from Encyclopaedia of the Orient (author: Tore Kjeilen )

Municipal elections in Qatar

According to the CIA Factbook, there are 9 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ad Dawhah (Doha), Al Ghuwayriyah, Al Jumayliyah, Al Khawr, Al Wakrah, Ar Rayyan, Jarayan al Batnah, Ash Shamal, Umm Salal.

First municipal elections law in Qatar, July 21, 1998 see at

First municipal election campaign in Doha, September 15, 1998 see at


Suffrage Universel
Processus de démocratisation