Qatar’s Advisory Council (Shura Council) was established in 1972 following the provisions of an interim political order issued on 19 April 1972, related to the regulation of the State’s new institutions, including the Shura Council.
The current Advisory Council comprises a total of 45 members, 30 of whom are directly elected in a secret general ballot, whilst the remaining 15 are appointed by HH the Amir. The terms of service of the appointed members end either when they resign or when they are relieved from their posts.
The Shura Council has legislative powers, is responsible for determining the general budget, and it also checks the executive powers. The Council is responsible for deliberating and making suggestions on a number of issues, including:
- Proposed laws and decrees referred by the Council of Ministers
- State policy which concerns economic, administrative and political issues referred by the Council of Ministers
- All state affairs related to social and cultural issues, through its own initiative or referred by the Council of Ministers
- The general budget for public projects
- The Council’s budget and its final accounts
- Following up and tracking progress of previously discussed issues referred by the Cabinet and also addressing any queries
- Addressing questions to ministers to get clarification on matters related to their expertise
- Requesting additional detail on matters concerning government and ministerial policy
- Proposing and putting forward recommendations on Council issues
The Council’s annual session lasts eight months, which commences and closes upon convocation by His Highness the Amir in October of each year. His Highness the Amir, or his deputy, opens the annual session by giving a comprehensive speech in which he addresses the affairs of the state.
His Highness the Amir may issue a decree to convoke an extraordinary session by the Council, in cases of emergency or a request by a majority of the members. In extraordinary sessions, the Council may only look into matters that it was specifically convoked for.
Summoning and adjourning the ordinary and extraordinary sessions of the Council is done by a decree.
The sessions of the Council are public. Closed sessions may be held upon a request of one third of the members of the Council or upon a request from the Council of Ministers.
In order for sessions to be valid, the majority of the members, including the speaker or his deputy, must attend them. If the number is not complete, the session is postponed to the next convocation date.
The decisions of the Council are made through absolute majority of present members – in cases where a special majority is not specified – and if the votes are equal, the Speaker’s vote determines the final decision.