You might have seen some campaign billboards on different streets in Qatar, have you ever wondered what are they for? Qatar is gearing up for the sixth session of Central Municipal Council (CMC) Elections and these campaign billboards are from the candidates to win the hearts and minds of voters in Qatar.
CMC elections are for strengthening the democratic and developmental process of the country. Qataris have been practising this democratic experiment through the electoral process by running and voting in the elections of the CMC. Running these elections are significant for Qatar not only in terms of its internal dynamics but also the country’s image before the region and the world at large. These elections are an opportunity for the Qataris to choose the person who will represent their local area for four years.
There is normally a choice of several candidates in each area, people can only vote for one of the candidates and the candidate that receives most votes becomes their representative.
The sixth session of CMC elections will take place on April 16. With the elections less than two weeks away, ILQ interviewed Hussain Albuhaliqa—one of the aspiring candidates from Al Thumama (Area no. 9), to get to know more details about the coming Central Municipal Council Elections.
The inspiration to take part in the elections came from my community as I often visit them to talk to them, to listen to their problems and they often point out about different issues that matter to the area, for example, lack of street lights or schools, or need to build more roads. And I always try my best to solve their problems since I have a good network with government organisations. Moreover, my education (holding a masters degree), as well as career background, provided me with the perfect skills to deal with these kinds of issues. My community wants me to see as their representative so their voices are heard and that’s why I decided to participate in the CMC elections.
In 1999, Qatar witnessed the first elections for the Central Municipal Council (CMC), an advisory body attached to the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning. CMC elections are held every four years and its sixth session which will take place on April 16. The candidate numbers for this year's CMC elections are 94, including 89 male candidates and five female candidates.
Until the elections date, I mean 16 April, and the next day everyone has to remove their campaign materials from the streets.
Any Qatari male or female who fulfills the conditions is entitled to run for membership of the CMC. These conditions are that the candidate shall be a Qatari citizen of Qatari origin or who obtained Qatari citizenship provided that the candidate shall be a descendant of a person born in Qatar. The candidate should be at least 30 years old and literate, have not previously been convicted of an offense against honor or trust and known for their competence and honesty.
Yes, of course! Each candidate must campaign in accordance with the regulations set by the Ministry of Interior. For example, placing campaign placards are not allowed at the mosques, schools, and hospitals. And failure to follow regulations given by the ministry includes a certain amount of fines.
Qatari citizens of 18 years old and above are eligible to vote.
Yes, of course! Social media’s importance to political campaigning isn’t new. Voters need information to make educated decisions, and it’s a very convenient way to promote agenda, communicate with voters or even candidates through social media.
I love Instagram most as it’s a simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos with the audiences. And WhatsApp is a very popular app for me for communication.
I will be very happy if I win, I will put my best effort for the betterment of the Al Thumama area. If not elected, I will then put my hands directly with the guy who will be elected, to push my area to the next level.
I am calling on all Qatari citizens to participate actively in these elections to exercise this right as a national duty. It’s an opportunity for them to exercise their role in political life effectively.
To know more about Hussain Albuhaliqa, visit his Instagram: www.instagram.com/althumamavoice9
How much did you know about elections in Qatar before reading this article? Would you participate in the election if you are eligible as a voter? Do let us know your opinion in the comments section below. And also don’t forget to give us a like and a share – you know it keeps us going!
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