Efforts to raise awareness on poll mechanism in Qatar


Dr Sheikh Khalid bin Jabor al-Thani, who was speaking on the sidelines of a training programme meant for providing training for Qatari citizens on mechanisms of election process, said that his committee had clear directions to educate people on election.

“Our political leadership is working hard on this issue. But calmness is needed so that we can avoid any problems that might occur. We do not want the election problems which happened in some neighbouring countries to be (repeated here). We seek to achieve a smooth and transitional process,” Dr Khalid bin Jabor told journalists.

The training programme, which started its first phase in October 2007, is being organised by the Permanent Election Committee (PEC) in association with the Washington-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

About the PEC’s objectives, he said the committee’s aim was to raise awareness and ensure the engagement of citizens in the political process.

“Our aim is to change thought and ensuring that the concept of election accepted by all. We also seek to set up a base of Qatari male and female youths who will be master trainers on election-related issues,” he said, while predicting that many of those who were given training in the PEC programmes will be leading campaigns in the coming municipal election.

Asked if citizens are prepared for the much-anticipated Qatar’s first legislative elections, he said: “There is a growing awareness among our people in terms of election and accepting its results. This was noticed this during the municipal elections with the number of running candidates was increasing from one term to the other. We also noticed that the previous terms of the municipal elections did not witness any problems.”

The phase five of the training programme, which included a total of 52 male and female citizens, was wrapping a one-year and half-long programme.

“We will set up soon a training centre whose main mission would be to provide training on how to deal with election-related issues. I am very satisfied about the response of our citizens toward participation in such training programmes,” he added.

Earlier, Lt Colonel Abdul Rahman Majid al-Sulaiti, who is the assistant director of the election department at the ministry of interior, told Gulf Times last month that the draft law on general election “may come through in mid-2010.”

The proposed Qatari legislative body will have 30 elected members and 15 appointees.

Staci Hagg, NDI Gulf resident director who was attending the opening session of the training programme, said such programmes will contribute positively to the democratic change in Qatar.

“As the programme comes to its end, we will be monitoring Qatar and to assess how it will behave in the future,” she said, while observing that her institute will continue working the PEC on its efforts to raise awareness on election and political participation.


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