Emir: Qatar to hold parliamentary elections in 2013
Doha, Qatar, 1 November, 2011: Qatar will hold Advisory Council (parliamentary) elections in the second half of 2013, The Emir, H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, said this morning.
�We implemented the Constitution and achieved most of the targets specified within it like the establishment of a Constitutional Court and holding the municipal council elections,� the Emir said.
However, some clauses of the Constitution could not be implemented due to the developmental challenges being faced by the country and the region witnessing turmoil.
The Emir said while opening the 40th Ordinary Session of the Advisory Council this morning that the above clauses of the Constitution, in order to be implemented, need some laws to be framed and enforced.
�I, therefore, announce from this forum that the election to the Advisory Council will be held in the later half of 2013.�
The objective is to set up a modern and economically independent state�a state that could take its political decisions independently and is able to invest its wealth in any country it wishes to.
The Qatari youth should not misunderstand that how we have steered the country unscathed from the world financial crisis, was due to sheer luck, he said.
The high economic growth the country has been achieving would not have been possible if the state would not have invested its resources with a view to diversifying the sources of income.
�We cannot sustain growth without investing in education and heath to build the Qatari capability so that citizens could shoulder their responsibilities.�
Qatar has traversed a long and bumpy way to progress and prosperity. The Emir recalled the time in 1995 (when he assumed power) when Qatar�s crude production was barely 300,000 barrels a day.
�This forced us to take foreign loans worth billions of dollars to set up giant projects, including those to develop natural gas, petrochemicals, and to upgrade oil fields and expand existing projects.�
�To take such decisions was not child�s play. Some people called it adventure. The debt reached as much as 43.6 percent of the country�s GDP in 1995.�
In 1998, the ratio of debt to the GDP jumped incredibly to 111 percent of the GDP, said the Emir. Crude prices in the international markets slumped making things more difficult. �We then decided to invest in gas development.�
�In my opinion there is the need to upgrade the Qatari economy so that we are one of the top economies of the world,� said the Emir.
The Emir said that in 1995 the country�s GDP was QR29.6bn ($8.1bn) which soared to QR463.5bn ($126.98bn) in 2010, and the per capita income was $16,164 (QR59,728), a figure which had multiplied manifold currently to an incredible over $74,721 (QR272,733) to become one of the highest in the world.
Justifying the recent salary raise of Qatari state employees he said it was only logical because the country has been witnessing economic growth, the Emir said. He, however, asked the people to work harder and with sincerity.
�Do your best at workplace and work in a perfect way to help the country achieve its development-related goals and targets,� the Emir said, adding that laziness would not be tolerated.
The government, he said, is closely monitoring the situation and periodical reports are being made. Anyone found not doing his work properly would be taken to task.
Talking of Qatar�s foreign policy, the Emir said its basic principle is peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and enhancing common interests. �We want the GCC and Arab region to take part actively with the international community to maintain peace and security and help achieve development in all sectors by adhering to principles of justice, believing firmly in human rights.�
International conflicts and disputes should be settled in a peaceful way in accordance with the international law.
Qatar has always been supporting the people of Palestine in their struggle to get their basic rights and set up an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Congratulating Palestine for acquiring full membership of UNESCO, he said Qatar has been actively backing its bid for US membership. �We urge the international community to work to help stop Israeli aggression in Palestine and end the siege on Gaza.�
He also congratulated the people of Tunisia for holding free and fair democratic elections recently. He also lauded Egypt for taking to the path of democracy.
The Emir said the governments in the region should talk to their people for the required reforms in their systems in a peaceful and gradual manner. �We wish this happens in Syria, Yemen and other countries concerned.�
The Emir said the governments in these countries should not resort to violence and address the problem in a peaceful way so as to prevent the crisis from turning into civil unrest.
The Emir also congratulated Libya for their victory and thanked NATO for supporting the people of Libya. �NATO has ended its operations without imposing any conditions on Libyan people and interfering with their sovereignty.�
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