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All About the Shura Council of Qatar

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History

It is an established practice to consider the Legislative Power, in any modern political system, as a constituent and one of the three main pillars of any system of rule.

The Shura Council of the State of Qatar, is one of the two main branches of Qatar’s legislative body. The laws to have effect, they shall be presented before the Shura Council, for consideration and suggestions. The other organ, is the Cabinet, which proposes bills, prepares draft laws and refers them to the Council, for due consideration and recommendations thereafter.

The State of Qatar is one of the pioneering Arab countries, that based their Legislative Power on the Islamic “Shura”, i.e. a consultation system, which draws its principles from the sublime Islamic ‘Shariat” i.e. Islamic code of law and conduct.

Through the power entitled to it, the Shura Council practices its power by either approving, accepting or even rejecting the draft bills and other matters presented to the Shura Council. In addition, the Shura Council may propose and consider by itself issues that of public concern, including inviting ministers and the government officials to discuss such matters with them.

The Shura Council was established in 1972

The Amended Provisional Basic Law of Rule in the State of Qatar was passed on April 19th 1972, in order to organize the public powers of the modern state including the Shura Council

  • Shura Council was formed in 1972 with (20) appointed members.
  • In the year 1975 additional (10) members of the Shura Council were appointed. Thus the number of members increased to (30).
  • In 1990 the first change in membership of the Council took place, whereby membership of (11) members was renewed and new (19) members were appointed.
  • In the year 1995 the second reformation of the membership of the Council took place, whereby membership of (22) was renewed and new (8) members were appointed.
  • In 1996 the number of the members of the Council was increased to (35) members.
  • In 2004 a fourth change took place, whereby the membership of (21) was renewed and new (14) members were appointed.
  • In the 2017 the latest change in the membership of the Council took place, whereby membership of (13) was renewed.

General Secretariat Responsibilities

The General Secretariat is the executive organ of the Shura Council. It is responsible for all administrative, financial, technical and legal affairs of the Council. It is tasked with implementation of decisions and recommendations of the Council and its Standing and other Committees composed of the Shura members.

Composition:

  • Secretary General
  • Assistant Secretary
  • Employees

It consists of the following technical sections:

  • Technical Affairs Section
  • Editing and Translation Section
  • Information and Public Relations Section
  • Financial and Administrative Affairs Section

Council Organs

Council Organs consists of:

  •  Speakership of the Council
  • Council’s Bureau
  • Committees

Speakership of the council

The Shura Council shall have a Speaker, a Deputy Speaker and two or more rapporteurs as required, who shall be elected through secret balloting, according to the proportional majority, at the first meeting of each annual ordinary session of the Council.

Council’s Bureau

The Council’s Bureau is composed of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and two, or more rapporteurs, as may be required by the Council. However, since its inceptions, it has been a practice in the Council to elect, only two rapporteurs, by a secret balloting on the base of proportional majority, the tenure of the two rapporteurs lasts to the end of the preceding day, to the inaugural meeting of the next annual session. However, they may be reelected for next sessions of the Council.

Committees

The Shura Council forms, from among its members, within the first week of its annual ordinary session, the following Standing Committees:

  •  The Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee.
  •   The Economic and Financial Committee.
  •   The Services and the Public Utilities Committee.
  •   The Internal and External Affairs Committee.
  •   The Information and Cultural Affairs Committee.

The Shura Council may, according to the exigencies of the work, may form other Ad hoc, or Standing Committees. Each Ad hoc, or Standing Committee may constitute, from among its members, one or more Sub-Committees.

The Committees shall, after consideration and discussion of each matter referred to them, present to the Speaker of the Council, a comprehensive report on each item referred to them, within 30 days at late, from the date of referral of the issue., unless the Council decides otherwise.
If there are delays in the date of submission of the reports to the Speaker the Speaker shall solicit the opinion of the members of the Council in the first coming meeting. The Council may grant a new date for submission of the reports or may refer the matter to another Committee or the Council will directly take a decision on it.

Responsibilities of the Council

The Shura Council is entitled to practice, discuss and propose number of issues, notably the following responsibilities:

  • Consideration of draft laws and the decrees by law that are referred to it by the Cabinet.
  • Discussion of the general policy of the government on political, economic, and administrative matters.
  • Discussion of the State’s affairs in social and cultural fields in general, that are referred to the Council by the Cabinet, or that have been considered by the Council itself.
  • The Shura Council discusses and approves the draft budget of the main public projects.
  • The draft budget and the final accounts of the Shura Council.
  • The Council follows up the activities and the achievements of the government in all matters, whether the issue is referred to it, by the Government, or the Council addressed it on its own initiation.
  • Addresses questions to ministers seeking answers and explanations from ministers on matters under the competence of the Council.
  • Submits recommendations and expresses opinion to the Government on above mentioned issues.

Committees

The Information and Cultural Affairs Committee

This Committee is tasked with consideration of the following matters:-

Matters related to:

  •  Education
  •  Information and Culture
  •  Youth and Sport
  • The cultural affairs of the country in general
The Economic and the Financial Affairs Committee

This Committee is tasked with consideration of the following matters:-

 Matters related to:

  •  Finance
  •  Economy and Trade
  •  Petroleum
  •  Industry
  •  Consideration of the annual draft budget of the Council and its final accounts.
The Internal and External Affairs Committee

This Committee is tasked with consideration of the following matters:-

 Matters related to:

  •  General internal and external policies of the Government presented to the Cabinet and referred to the Council by the Cabinet.
  •  General external policies of the Government
  •  Matters related to the Ministries of Interior and the Ministry of the External Affairs.
The Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee

This Committee is tasked with consideration of the following matters:-

  •  Draft laws presented by the Cabinet and referred to the Council.
  •  Legal aspects in the matters, which fall under the purview of the Shura Council
  •  Any other matters referred to it by the Council, the Council’s Bureau, or the Speaker, and fall within the purview and the responsibilities of the Council and not assigned to other Committees.
The Services and the Public Utilities Committee

This Committee is tasked with consideration of the following matters:-

 Matters related to:

  •  Labor & Social Affairs
  •  Housing and Public Health
  •  Electricity and Water
  •  Transportation
  •  Municipal Affairs
  •  Departments of Public Services
  •  The social affairs of the country in general.

The Council assumes the following functions in accordance with the Constitution:

  • Legislative authority,
  • Approving the general budget of the government
  • Exercising control over the executive authority, as specified in the Constitution
  • The Shura Council shall have the right to forward proposals relative to public matters to the government. If the government is unable to comply with such aspirations, it must give its reasons to the Council. The Council may comment only once on the government’s statement.

The Shura Council represents Qatar in numerous parliamentary associations and international organisations. This includes the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Arab Parliament, the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States, the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, and the Association of Senates, Shura& Equivalent Councils in Africa & the Arab World.

Shura Council Formation

The Shura Council comprises a total of 45 members, 30 of whom are directly elected via secret general ballot, whilst the remaining 15 are appointed by HH the Amir from a pool of ministers or otherwise. The terms of service of the appointed members end with either their resignation or dismissal.

Electoral districts

In accordance with Amiri Decree No. 37 of 2021, the country will be divided into 30 electoral districts, each of which will elect one representative.

Candidate nominations

Election Campaigns

Election campaigning to begin following the announcement of the final lists of candidates. Campaigns must end 24 hours before the start of the voting process, the date of which will be determined at a later date following an Amiri decree.

The maximum expenditure of each candidate during their electoral campaign must not exceed two million Qatari riyals.

During the campaign, candidates must respect the constitution and the freedom of others to express their opinion. They must maintain national unity and community safety, and must not offend any other candidate. Candidates cannot incite tribal or sectarian strife among citizens and society in any way.

 

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