The Drafting Committee of the Permanent Constitution

On the 13th of July 1999, The State of Qatar passed into a new era of its modern history.  HH the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani issued decree no (11) in 1999. In a historic speech on this occasion, HH announced the formation of a drafting committee of the permanent constitution.

Referendum on the Constitution

After 30 years of living under the umbrella of the Amended Provisional Constitution, Qataris were ready to transfer into a new era of participatory democratic freedom on 29th April 2003. This new era was marked with the establishment of the Permanent Constitution of Qatar. This constitution would guarantee personal freedom, and the principle of equality in public rights and duties. In addition, this permanent constitution would confirm that no citizen shall be banished neither shall he be denied re-entry to his country. Moreover, this constitution would guarantee freedom of expression of opinion, and would guarantee freedom of press, printing and publication. Furthermore, it would guarantee the freedom to practice religious rites. According to the provisions of this constitution, people are deemed to be the source of authority in Qatar, and an elected legislative council “Al-Shura Council”, would function as the legislative authority.

Constitution of Qatar

H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Father Amir of the State of Qatar, ratified the Constitution on June 8, 2004, which determined the identity of the State of Qatar as the following:
“Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State. Its religion is Islam and Shari'a law shall be the main source of its legislations. Its political system is democratic. Arabic Language shall be its official language. The people of Qatar are part of the Arab nation.
The capital of the State is Doha City; and it may be transferred to any other place by a law. The State shall exercise its sovereignty on its territory and it may not relinquish its sovereignty neither may it cede any part of its territory.”
The law defines the State’s flag, emblem, medals, badges, national anthem, financial and banking system, and official currency.

The Advisory Shura Council

Qatar’s Advisory Council (Shura Council) was established in 1972 following the provisions of the provisional basic law issued on 19 April 1972, related to the regulation of the State’s new institutions, including the Shura Council.

In November 2020, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State, announced that the elections for the Shura Council will be held for the first time in 2021. This comes as part of the ambitious policy pursued by the State of Qatar to develop its legislative mechanisms by expanding the scope of popular participation in a way that reflects the values of the constitution and Qatar National Vision 2030.

The current Advisory Council comprises a total of 45 members, 30 of whom were elected by direct secret public ballot, which took place for the first time in Qatar on October 2, 2021, in which women participated as candidates and voters. The remaining 15 members are appointed by HH the Amir. The terms of service of the appointed members end either when they resign or when they are relieved from their posts.

The Shura Council has legislative powers, is responsible for determining the general budget, and it also supervises the executive powers. The Council is responsible for deliberating and making suggestions on a number of issues, including:

  • Proposed laws and decrees referred by the Council of Ministers.
  • State policy concerned with economic, administrative and political issues referred by the Council of Ministers
  • All state affairs related to social and cultural issues, through its own initiative or referred by the Council of Ministers
  • The general budget for public projects and the Council’s budget and its final accounts
  • Following up and tracking the state's activities and achievements in all matters, whether referred by the Council of Ministers, or through its own initiative.
  • Addressing questions to ministers to get clarification on matters related to their expertise
  • Proposing and putting forward recommendations on public issues.

The Council’s annual session lasts eight months, which commences and closes upon convocation by His Highness the Amir in October of each year. His Highness the Amir, or his deputy, opens the annual session by giving a comprehensive speech in which he addresses the affairs of the state.

His Highness the Amir may issue a decree to convoke an extraordinary session by the Council in cases of emergency or upon a request by a majority of the members. In extraordinary sessions, the Council may only look into matters that it is specifically convoked for. The call for the Shura Council to convoke in its ordinary and extraordinary sessions and its adjournment shall be by a decree.

Central Municipal Council

Qatar’s first Municipal Council was formed in the early 1950s. The first elections to choose the members of the Central Municipal Council (CMC) were held through direct representation on March 8, 1999. Both men and women participated in the elections. This is considered a historic event, given that those elections were the country's first steps towards democracy in its civil sense.

The Council, which comprises 29 elected members representing 29 constituencies from more than 242 regions in the State of Qatar, is considered an independent council that carries out its responsibilities without interference.

The Council operates according to the provisions of Law No. 12 of 1998 concerning the Regulations of the Central Municipal Council and its amendments. It expresses its opinions through recommendations and decisions.

The Council is headed by a Chairman who is elected directly by the members in their first assembly meeting. The Council has three administrative units: Office of the Chairman, Council Office and Public Relations.