Qatar exerting diligent efforts for democracy: PM


In a speech delivered yesterday at the Netherlands Institute for International Relations – Clingendael, the prime minister said: “This is the higher policy of our country at the domestic level. It is a policy which was adopted before the events of September 11. We have now gone along way implementing that policy and we will continue our progress towards consolidating that policy and pursuing its guidelines until it achieves all its objectives.”


He added “we have exerted and are still exerting diligent efforts to establish the foundations of democracy and popular participation in governance, administration and decision-making as well as the building of pillars of a State based on law and institutions.”


HE Sheikh Hamad said preparations were now under way for holding the first general parliamentary elections in the history of our country in accordance with the new Constitution which was approved by a popular majority in the general referendum carried out on April 29, 2004.


He said: “The Constitution guarantees the basic freedoms and rights of all citizens, men and women alike. It also endorses principles of accountability and transparency in government and administration. In this constitutional framework, the empowerment of women was heeded with a view to enabling them to play their due role in society in the different domains. Also heeded was the reactivation of the civil society organisations in order that they optimally discharge their assigned social and humanitarian objectives. “Our democratic approach is not a copied model of an already predetermined existing international blueprint, nor is it a product of external factors. We are well-aware of the nature of the challenges which face us upon choosing the option of reform and democratisation. We feel that we bear the responsibility for having to continuously raise awareness of the fact that our civilisational Arab and Islamic heritage is not against reform to accomplish advancement, progress and attain a better life that is based on principles of good governance.”


The prime minister added: “We believe that only efforts for building democracy will not be enough if they were not supported by serious comprehensive development projects in economic and social fields. In this context, education takes priority. A comprehensive revision to healthcare system in the country was carried out. We have been active in improving healthcare standards sectors which had been lacking sufficient resources.”


On the social side, where the Arab society and Islam place great importance and care much for family life, the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, which has been established by an Emiri Decree in 1998, plays a significant role for securing bright future for our society. Legislations were enacted and many new organisations had been established for providing support to various social groups such as the elderly, people of special need, mothers and children, orphans and for qualifying youth. By such steps we hope to build a society that provides equal opportunities to all, he added.


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