DOHA – Qatar’s emir named two women among his new appointment to the Gulf state’s advisory Shura Council on Thursday, after partial elections held for the first time earlier this month saw not one of the more than 20 women candidates a seat.
In what was Qatar’s first legislative election, candidates competed for 30 of the 45 seats on the council. The emir continues to appoint the remaining 15 members of the body, which has limited sway over policies in the monarchy, which band political parties.
Dashing for a stronger voice for women in the Gulf monarchy, voters elected an all – male line – up for the council which has included a small number of women in the past.
A statement by the office of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani listed two women – Sheikha bin Yoused Al – Jufairi and Hamda bint Hassan al Sulati – among the newly appointed members.
Neither woman ran in the elections.
While Qatar has introduces reforms to women’s rights in the recent years, including allowing women to independently get a driving license, it has been criticised by rights group for issues like the guardianship system, where a woman needs male permission to marry, travel and access reproductive healthcare.
Kuwait has been the only Gulf monarchy to give substantial powers to an elected parliament, although ultimate decision – making rests with its ruler, as in neighbouring states.