Participants at a symposium, organised by Qatar University (QU) yesterday in co-operation with the Ministry of the Interior and the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), urged citizens to participate intensively in the elections to the 6th session of the Central Municipal Council (CMC) and to exercise this right as a national duty to contribute to strengthening the democratic and developmental process of the country.
The symposium, entitled “The right to vote and run for elections”, was held on the occasion of the 6th session of the CMC Elections of 2019, and attended by a number of interested members of the university and representatives of the media.
Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr Omar al-Ansari said that the CMC election is approaching. Therefore, participation in this electoral process is a national duty and a consolidation of the principle of democracy.
He added that the enjoyment of individuals and giving them the opportunity to exercise their role in political life effectively in any community reflect their cultural and social awareness, calling on all citizens in Qatar University to participate actively in these elections.
He pointed out that societies grow and flourish with the participation of all its citizens in all aspects of development by promoting the values of participation and the right to exercise all their rights, the most important of which is the right to vote and run without discrimination as stipulated in the international covenants, adding that since its first session, Qataris have been practising this democratic experiment through the electoral process by running and voting in the elections of the Central Municipal Council.
For his part, NHRC member Mohamed Saif al-Kuwari said that participation in the electoral process is a national duty, calling upon all the Qatari people to participate and cast their votes to deepen democratic behaviour and promote democratic progress and political prosperity.
He stressed the importance of the elections in enhancing the development process through the roles assumed by the candidates. He said that the electoral process reflects the moral strength of the candidate to play a significant and important role to serve his constituency and his country by translating the demands of the constituents into realistic projects that directly or indirectly affect the development of the democratic experiment and contribute to the development of society at all levels.
He added that the elections are a pillar of democracy, which supports the system of government in any country and is the best way to achieve sustainable development in the state, and the practical guarantee for everyone in the community to have the right to reject or accept who will represent him, stressing at the same time that the right to run and to vote is the right of every citizen without discrimination to participate in the management of public affairs in the State as provided for by international covenants and as provided for in Article 42 of the Qatari Constitution.
He pointed out that the elections have a great and important role in creating political maturity and mutual intellectual awareness between the candidate and the voter. It motivates both parties to work together to adopt strategies and development plans for the benefit of the homeland and for the benefit of generations and building the future, he added.
In his lecture, Dr Mohamed bin Saif al-Kuwari reviewed the provisions of international conventions on the election and nomination of citizens in accordance with the law and the charters as stipulated in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Al-Kuwari underlined the preparation of a detailed plan by the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) to monitor the sixth edition of CMC elections in accordance with the programme approved by the Ministry of the Interior, in addition to the development of an awareness plan on participation in the elections, in accordance with national legislation and laws and conventions and national, regional and international human rights conventions.
He pointed out that the role played by the committee during the election period comes within the provisions of Article 3 of Decree Law No 17 of 2010 organising the NHRC, in particular item 5 on monitoring the human rights situation in the State, preparing reports thereon, and submitting report on them to the Council of Ministers with its views on this matter, “and item 9 on awareness and education of human rights and freedoms, and the consolidation of its principles at the levels of thought and practice.
The NHRC member also reviewed the rights required during the various stages of the electoral process, the facilities of registration and easy access to polling stations, and other matters that ensure the smooth and unhindered conduct of the electoral process, including prohibiting the organisation and holding of election meetings, delivering speeches, placing posters, advertisements or photographs in places of worship, institutes, educational institutions, public buildings, buildings of public bodies and institutions, electricity and telephone poles and inside or outside the electoral halls.
For his part, Lt Saleh Jassim al-Mohammadi, member of the legal committee for municipal council elections, stressed the great importance of municipal council elections due to the Council’s role in monitoring the implementation of laws, decisions and regulations related to the powers and competences of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, including laws and regulations relating to the organisation of buildings and planning of land, roads, commercial, industrial and public outlets and other fields.
Al-Mohammadi added that the Qatari legislator, in Decree No 17 of 1998, assigned the task of organising the elections of members of the Central Municipal Council to the Ministry of the Interior, which supervises the electoral process in all in a fully transparent and impartial manner. He reviewed the requirements established by law for the voter and the candidate in these elections and for the conduct of the electoral process in general.
He pointed out that each voter should exercise his own electoral right in his electoral constituency, explaining that each electoral constituency has a headquarters dedicated to the implementation of the various procedures of the electoral process, including registering voters and candidates, adjudicating appeals, conducting the election and announcing the results.
The elections of the Central Municipal Council are scheduled to take place on April 16, in accordance with the Amiri decree in this regard. The election day will be preceded by the election campaigns for candidates to compete for the council’s 29 seats.
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