Qataris start voting in first-ever legislative polls

Qataris began voting in the first-ever legislative polls in their country on Saturday, AFP correspondents said, taking 30 of 45 seats on a previously appointed, largely electoral advisory council.

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Analysts say the polls, which are open from 0500 GMT to 1500 GMT with results expected the same day, will not lead to a power shift from the ruling family and are a largely symbolic nod to democracy.

At a polling station at Jawaan bin Jassim school in Doha’s Onaiza district, Qatari citizens in white thobes signed up to vote at a registration desk.

They cast their ballots in a semi-transparent plastic box, decorated with the dhow boat, crossed swords and the emblem of the Qatar palm tree.

The candidates are mostly men, with only 28 women among the 284 candidates running for the 30 available council seats. The remaining 15 seats will be allocated by the almighty Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Qataris number about 333,000, but only descendants of those who were citizens in 1930 are eligible to vote and run for office, disqualifying members of families since naturalized.

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