Qatar’s long-awaited legislative elections may not happen until 2016, following the former Emir’s decision to extend the Advisory (Shura) Council’s term for another three years. QNA previously announced that a decree regarding the council’s term was made in the last few hours of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s rule, but just yesterday disclosed details of the decision. The Advisory Council’s term was last extended in 2010, until 2013, based on the constitutional provision that “extending the council’s term is permitted if it is found to be in the public’s best interest."
The council’s term was set to expire at the end of June, after which elections were supposed to be held, as promised by Sheikh Hamad during his inaugural speech of the Qatari Advisory Council in November 2011. But no mention of these elections was made this year, and it remains unclear when they will actually be held. The council will adjourn for the summer on Sunday, July 7.
Cabinet gets to work
Meanwhile, as the new Cabinet reported to work this week for the first time, sorting out each ministry’s responsibilities appeared to be high on the agenda. The Labor and Social Affairs ministries have merged, for example, and the Cabinet is suggesting that three undersecretaries be appointed, each to handle a different arena, including Qatarization initiatives.
Elsewhere, the newly established Ministry of Youth and Sports will assume control over some departments that were formerly under the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, the Peninsula reports. That includes the Youth Centers Department and the Youth Activities Department, which manage special needs and technology services and organize events aimed at young people. Some Qatar Olympic Committee departments will also be transferred to the new ministry, which will be located in the Dafna area. But many questions remain.
David Roberts, a policy analyst and director of the Doha-based Royal United Services Institute, told Doha News: The specific role of the Ministry of Administrative Development remains to be seen, while the relationship between some of the new ministries and departments which did a similar job previously (i.e. Communication & IT and ICT Qatar, Youth and Sports & the Olympic Committee, etc) are yet to be delineated. Elsewhere it will also be interesting to find out who the new head of QNB and Al Jazeera will be, now that their CEOs have become Ministers. He added: A busy summer in Qatar lies ahead.