Qatar’s Elections: What You Need to Know About Central Municipal Council Elections
The Amir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued Decree No 28 of 2023 specifying the date for the election of members of the 7th Central Municipal Council (CMC), which will take place on Thursday, 22 June 2023.
The campaign for CMC elections began on the day of the final candidate list announcement on 11 June and will continue until polling day on 22 June.
CMC monitors the implementation of laws and oversees the management of municipal affairs and agriculture. CMC comprises 29 elected members, representing 29 constituencies from more than 242 regions in Qatar.
This year, a total of four women have been announced as candidates for the CMC elections.
CMC elections are held every four years and are counted from the date of its first meeting.
The CMC elections and Shura Council elections are one of the few times Qatari citizens get to vote. Prior to the current CMC elections, the first-ever elections in Qatar took place in 2021 where Qataris voted for members of the Shura Council.
Election day is on 22 June. The Amir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, issued Decree No 28 of 2023 and called on citizens who hold the right to vote and with names which are registered in the voter registration lists, to cast votes in their constituencies. Only Qataris can vote.
Applications for voter registration were received from 30 April to 4 May, and the preliminary lists of voters were announced on 7 May. Applications for appeals and grievances took place from 7 to 11 May. The adjudication of appeals and grievances in the voter lists took place from 8 to 18 May, followed by the announcement of the final list on 21 May.
The committee set the stage for receiving nomination applications from 21 to 25 May and the announcement of the initial lists of candidates was on 28 May. The stage of receiving appeals and grievances against the candidates’ lists begins on the same day and continues until 5 June.
The process of adjudicating appeals began from 29 May to 8 June, followed by the announcement of the final lists of candidates on 11 June. The electoral campaign starts on the same day and continues until the stage of electoral silence that precedes the polling day, which is determined by an Amiri decree and has been announced as 22 June.
The candidates and their campaigns
CMC candidates have to submit a licence request for electoral campaigning to the Ministry of Interior (MOI) before launching their campaigns.
According to the rules regulating the CMC election campaigns issued under the MOI’s Decision No 7 of 1998, each candidate must obtain a permit from MOI before starting his/her election campaign, in accordance with the requirements specified by the ministry.
Moreover, the means of the election campaign must not include the call for any tribalism or sectarianism. Slogans, expressions and images used in the election campaign must not be in conflict with the religious and social values of the Qatari society. Furthermore, the election campaign must not violate public decency or the prevailing traditions in society.
Candidates seeking to withdraw must complete the specified form and seek approval from the chairman of the Elections Committee by submitting it to the Elections Department.
Regarding authorisation, candidates who wish to authorise a voter to act on their behalf during the election must complete the appropriate form and submit it, along with a photograph of the representative, to the Elections Department.
As per the law, the representative must be a registered voter in the same constituency as the candidate. The deadline for submitting the withdrawal of candidacy and authorisation requests was 13 June 2023.
About the Central Municipal Council (CMC)
Qatar’s first CMC was formed in the early 1950s. On 8 March 1999, free elections were held to choose the members of CMC through direct representation. Both men and women participated in the elections.
CMC operates according to the provisions of Law No 12 of 1998 concerning the Regulations of CMC, and it expresses its opinions through recommendations and issuing decisions.
CMC is headed by a Chairman who is elected directly by the members in their first assembly meeting. He has three administrative units: Office of the Chairman, Council Office and Public Relations.
According to Article 8 of Law No 12 of 1998 concerning the Regulation of the Central Municipal, the CMC aims to use all available means to develop the country in municipal matters. In order to achieve this goal, the CMC has the following responsibilities:
- Monitoring the implementation of laws, decrees and regulations that fall under the responsibilities of the Ministry and the Council, including laws, decrees and regulations related to urban and industrial planning, infrastructure and other public system
- Overseeing the economic, financial and administrative management of municipal affairs and agriculture
Under the supervision of the Chairman, CMC forms a Secretariat General and recommends a Secretary General who is appointed by a decree issued by the Minister of Municipality. The Secretariat General comprises five administrative units: Secretary General Office, Legal Affairs Unit, Meeting and Members Affairs, Studies and Development, and Common Services.
Members determine their work programme and budget and make recommendations to the Ministry of Municipality. Regular Council meetings with at least two-thirds of its members are held in public in Doha every two weeks.
For more information, visit cmc.org.qa