DUBAI, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Qatar’s first general election for two-thirds of the Shura consultative council will be held on October 2, according to a decree of the ruling Emir on Sunday released by his office.
Qatar will elect 30 members to the 45-member body, while Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members.
The council will have legislative powers and will approve general state policy and the budget. It will also exercise control over the executive branch, with the exception of bodies that set defense, security, economic and investment policies.
Kuwait is currently the only Gulf monarchy that gives an elected parliament significant powers that can block laws and question ministers, although the final decision-making rests with the ruler, as in neighboring states.
Qatar, a small but affluent gas producer that is already holding local elections, bans political parties like other Arab Gulf states.
The October polls sparked some debate about voter involvement after some members of a tribe were banned from voting under a law restricting voting to Qataris whose families were in Qatar before 1930
The electoral law, based on a constitution passed in a referendum in 2003, could be reviewed by a new Shura council.
Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by David Clarke and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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