More Qatari women expected to run for municipal council seats

January 9, 2011

More women are likely to contest the Central Municipal Council (CMC) polls this year, a council member has said.

“Not many sitting members are expected to seek reelection to the 29-member representative body during its fourth term since it has not been able to achieve much since its inception in early 1999,” Abdul Rahman Al Jefairi said.

“But we hope that since women’s empowerment is the buzzword today and the state is putting immense emphasis on increasing the participation of women in public life, we expect more to be in the fray this time,” Al Jefairi told Qatari dailyThe Peninsula.

CMC has only one woman member, Shaikha Al Jefairi, who was elected from the Old Airport civic constituency in 2007 with an overwhelming majority.

In 1999, Moza Al Malki, a psychologist and teacher, was the only woman to seek election to the CMC, but her bid was unsuccessful.

Al Jefairi now thinks that people’s disenchantment with the current members after it failed to live up to their expectations, could offer new opportunities to women.

“The voter turnout for the first term of the Council which has a four-year tenure was 80 per cent,” Al Jefairi said. “This indicated people’s enthusiasm and aspirations since they expected the Council to deliver, being the country’s first representative body.”

During the elections for the second and third terms in 2003 and 2007, the voter turnout declined to 40 per cent, he said.

“The CMC doesn’t enjoy much power. However, we hope that more qualified citizens and women, especially, would enter the electoral fray this year.”

Al Jefairi attributed the lack of interest of the council in issues that concern the large expatriate population of the country to the fact that it deals mostly with Qatari citizens’ cases.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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