H.E. the former Deputy Speaker of the Shura Council Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Sulaiti stressed that H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's issuance of the laws and decrees regulating the Shura Council elections and determining its powers represents a legal safeguard to ensure the success of the elections.
His Excellency, in an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency, said that H.H. the Amir was keen on expanding popular participation in the elections based on the State of Qatar's permanent constitution that was approved by the citizens in 2003. He stressed that wise leadership believes in the importance of expanding participation in public service, in order to build the state's institutions.
Here is a transcript of the interview:
Sure, H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's issuance of the laws and decrees regulating the Shura Council elections and determining its powers represents a legal safeguard to ensure the success of the elections. Just like a former member of the Shura Council H.E. Ambassador Mohammed bin Ali Al Henzab confirmed, His Highness is committed to the success of the elections. His Highness consulted with the dignitaries and prominent figures in Qatar prior to issuing the law, as His Highness of keen on expanding popular participation in the elections, in line with the State of Qatar's permanent constitution approved in 2003. The wise leadership believes in the importance of expanding participation in public service in order to build state institutions and the law. H.H. the Amir will use a gradual approach to reach that goal. The rule proposed by H.H. the Amir to expand participation for those whose grandfathers were born in Qatar points to further expansion in decision making, as the closer proximity between the people and the leadership has made H.H. the Amir the one with the initiative to amend the legislation. The permanent constitution has set a balanced structure between the people and power, it also adopted the separation of the three powers and enhanced judicial mechanisms. The holding of elections completes the process of popular engagement with legislative and regulatory developments.
The elected Shura Council conveys the efforts of the wise leadership to expand popular participation in decision-making, urging the people of Qatar to play their positive and constructive role in public service and to engage in oversight efforts of the work of the legislative authority. I see that the current thirty electoral districts are a fair division that guarantees equal representation for all the people of Qatar, taking into account the interests of all, away from narrow interests and tribalism. There are many electoral districts where we find more than one tribe and it is not dedicated to a particular party without the other. The people of Qatar are united in being part of one tribe called the tribe of Qatar. Settling on holding the Shura Council elections for 30 members and the appointment of 15 members contributes to expanding popular participation in decision-making, governance, and administration. It also combines free popular representation and benefiting from those with expertise, creating a good mixture of opinions and engagement in the council. The current electoral districts constitute a divisional organization of the stable human map in the State of Qatar, and the population centers before 1960, defining its population. That is why these electoral districts came according to my knowledge of them, including their components that mixed in the criteria the existence of the family, the tribe, and the region. I would like to urge the young people to participate in this year's election. Any young man or woman who sees that they are capable of playing this role must look to engage in the electoral process, whether by running for a seat or by electing a candidate. That is simply because they are the future, and they can engage actively with the leadership in the coming period. I'd also be delighted to see our young people as members of the Shura Council, as it represents the people of Qatar that are of all ages and not just a particular generation.
They have to put the interests of Qatar as their goal and move away from narrow interests. The selection of the candidate must not factor in tribal considerations. This should also hold true for the winning candidates; they must work for the public good as they represent all the people of Qatar and not those with which he has a private relationship. The constitution has set the basic laws and principles and no authority or citizen has the right to violate them, in order to protect the society and the state, and to guarantee equality in rights and duties, in addition to promoting the economic and social aspects as well. Modern societies are governed by the rule of law, which can only be guaranteed when the law ensures the rights and freedoms of the individual against state powers, and when it strikes a political balance that meets the needs of the people. The council in that respect becomes a voice for the people's aspirations and ambitions, paving the way for development.
Every Shura Council member must always remember that they are serving their country, their people, and everyone who lives on this land. The Shura Council member is a duty and they must work day and night to ensure the country's advancement and the prosperity of the citizens and everyone who lives in Qatar. If they fail, they will be held accountable by the people who voted him into the council. So they have to carry out their duties with dedication in order to convince the voters to re-elect them.
Some may think that the nature of the relationship between the Shura Council and the government or the executive branch is one of competition, and this is never true. We should avoid reaching such a stage. All parties are keen to build Qatar to bolster its development. The Shura Council supports the efforts of the executive branch in building a state of institutions and promoting the rule of law. This happens by presenting proposals, visions, and draft laws to the government and discussing them in a positive way, as well as playing the oversight role that facilitates the government's work and helps it identify shortcomings, and all of this contributes to building Qatar's renaissance. The relationship between the Shura Council and the executive branch should be characterized by being complementary, participatory, and positive.
There is no doubt that there is a reliance on an experience that lasted nearly half a century, which is the outcome of political work and cooperation between the government and the Shura Council over the past decades, which embodied the identity and effectiveness of the Qatari society and the elite that represented it throughout that period, which took into account the latest economic, political, social, legislative, and constitutional developments. This approach, which embodied the identity of society in its previous stage, was developed by introducing an amendment to the form of the legislative authority to achieve the transition to a new stage.
The Shura Council elections are a constitutional entitlement, as the Qatari constitution stipulates popular participation in decision-making, which is in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, which invests in people and encourages them to engage in public affairs, and this council will have broad legislative powers and oversight powers over the government and the executive branch, as the law defines the conditions for questioning the government, and these matters will actually contribute to the development of the legislative environment and public work, which reflects the spirit of responsibility and belonging to Qatar. For the sake of the country, the council works to instill a sense of popular and serious participation in decision-making, management, and conduct of affairs, and reflects a sense of equality and freedom of opinion, and activates constructive criticism of the course of things through monitoring, following up and sensing them, by discussing problems, issues, and public topics and exchanging opinions about them. The Shura Council will undertake the next tasks of legislation, and this task and the great legislative responsibility require accuracy and great care. It also requires the application of that process in a balanced way that meets and expresses the needs of society.
The elected Shura Council will be charged with a host of legislative and regulatory roles, in additions to approving the state's budget. This an important stage for the country that requires alertness, cooperation to ensure success that cab be built on. I believe that a Shura Council member must be aware of legislative matters, knows the constitution and the laws well, in addition to the regulations inside the council and its committees. The member must also be aware of diplomatic and parliamentary affairs, as well as the work of parliamentary organizations, and the relationship the council has with Arab, regional, and international organizations.
Understanding the legislative process and its goal is also a necessity given it is one of the developmental, economic, and social issues. The member must also take into consideration that legislative amendments must stem from an understanding of society, so that it can truly reflect it and convey the society's ambitions.
The elected council, which the people of Qatar have big hopes for, must look to strike a balance in the laws between the needs of the current generation and that of future generations to ensure the provision of a stable honorable living. The council must also be keen to support citizens and enhance the private sector in order to achieve sustainable development. It must also propose issues that would enhance laws related to economic diversification and income streams. The council must also pay special attention to the pillars of social development and protect those gains related to human development in general, and education and health in particular. Issues related to bolstering the society's identity must be of interest to the council, in order to build a legislative system on strong foundations of principles that reflect the society's identity.
Source: Qatar News Agency
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