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What to Make of Qatar’s First-Ever Popular Vote

MIN READOct 4, 2021 | 22:25 GMT

A man casts his ballot in Qatar’s first-ever legislative vote at a polling station in Doha on Oct. 2, 2021.

A man casts his ballot in Qatar’s first-ever legislative vote at a polling station in Doha on Oct. 2, 2021.

(KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Qatar’s first-ever popular elections represent an incremental broadening of political participation in the absolute monarchy as its economy slowly diversifies away from hydrocarbons. The polls will also give Doha an edge in its ongoing competition with the United Arab Emirates in the coming years. Qataris voted Oct. 2 in the first-ever popular election for the country’s consultative legislative council, known as the Shura Council. 30 of the 45 seats were selected by popular vote, while 15 were directly selected by Qatar’s emir. 26 of the 233 candidates on the ballot were women, which Qatari and international media heavily touted leading up to the vote. None of those women, however, ended up winning seats. ...

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