Qatar holds its first ever legislative elections

Qataris headed to the polls on Saturday (October 2) in the country’s first-ever legislative elections, which have stirred domestic debate about electoral inclusion and citizenship.

Voters trickled into polling stations, where men and women entered separate sections.

They’ll be electing 30 members of the 45-seat advisory Shura council.

The ruling emir will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members.

The country currently bans political parties.

The Council will have legislative authority and approve general state policies and the budget.

However, it has no control over defence, security, economic and investment policy.

Reuters caught up with some of the voters:

"For us, this is a democratic ceremony that is new and modern for Qatar and everyone is participating in this council that is important for the citizen and the state."

The election comes ahead of Doha hosting the World Cup soccer tournament next year.

Critics have said voting eligibility is too narrow.

The polls have stirred tribal sensitivities after some members of a main tribe were ineligible to vote under a law restricting voting to Qataris whose family was present in the country before 1930.

Human Rights Watch has said thousands of Qataris are excluded from voting.

The foreign minister said there is a quote, "clear process" for the electoral law to be reviewed by the next Shura Council.

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