* 49th ordinary session of Shura Council closes
Qatar is preparing to start a new phase with an elected Shura Council, HE the Speaker of the Shura Council Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud has said.
The observation was made during the closing of the 49th ordinary session, held via videoconferencing and chaired by HE the Speaker at the council's headquarters on Monday, Qatar News Agency reported.
On the occasion of the adjournment of the current session and the expiration of the term of the Shura Council on Wednesday, HE the Speaker delivered a speech, at the beginning of which he expressed, on behalf of himself and the members of the council, thanks and appreciation to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for the confidence and support he gave to the council, which enabled it to carry out its tasks and perform its role in the service of the country and the citizen.
He said that the council studied during this session all the draft laws that were sent by the esteemed government and made recommendations regarding them, adding that they were truly important draft laws that have a direct impact on all aspects of life in the country, whether in the fields of development and services.
He pointed out that among the most important draft laws that the council studied, discussed and recommended was a draft law on the election system of the Shura Council and a draft law on the council, thus, the Council has contributed to preparing the ground for the elected Shura Council, which election comes as a continuation of the constitutional process and the implementation of the vision of His Highness the Amir in developing the Shura approach in the country and expanding popular participation in legislation and oversight.
Since its re-formation in 2017, the council has been in a permanent state of work internally and externally in its past four sessions, it has achieved many important achievements thanks to the members' efforts and the cooperation of the esteemed government, despite the unjust blockade imposed on the country, in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected and continues to affect all aspects of life, HE the Speaker said.
HE al-Mahmoud explained that the council's work was not limited to studying and discussing draft laws and giving recommendation on them, as there were sessions through requests for general discussion and suggestions at the request of the council, which were attended by a number of the ministers concerned, adding that the topics discussed during them varied between economic affairs, health, education, environment, traffic accidents, and food security, retirees issues, foreign policy, university education, promoting values, principles and ethics in society, Qatar National Vision 2030, and other topics and issues.
He added that the council is proud of its active and effective parliamentary action on the regional and international levels, which contributed to strengthening Qatar's relations with many countries of the world, especially in the parliamentary field, which resulted in the presidency of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) and the transfer of its general secretariat office to Doha, the State of Qatar's hosting of the Office of Parliamentary Participation in Preventing, Combating Terrorism, its activities covered all parliaments of the world and Doha hosted the largest international parliamentary event, the 140th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in April 2019.
He said that two books have been prepared on the council's progress and history, one entitled, "The Shura Council...half a century of giving," in which the work and activities of the council since its establishment were highlighted, and the other book entitled, "Spotlight on the Shura Council: the Council's achievements during the last four sessions," adding that they will be issued and published soon.
On the upcoming phase of the Shura Council, HE al-Mahmoud said that Qatar is preparing to start a new phase with an elected council after closing this one, which lasted for nearly half a century.
He pointed out that if the closing council was the stage of establishment, evaluation and gradual development, then the next is the stage of broader popular participation under the wise leadership and the guidance of inherited norms, morals, values and traditions.
The components for its success are concentrated in consolidating national unity and keeping away from narrow affiliations, so that belonging to the homeland is first and last, and to its glorious history, its prosperous present, and its brighter future, with the help of God, he added.
He expressed appreciation and gratitude to the former Shura Council Speakers who have chaired since its establishment in 1972, and the members who have attained the honor of their membership since that date, have established the structure and laid down high traditions and values for practicing work in the Shura Council.
He expressed his thanks and appreciation to the esteemed government for its fruitful cooperation with the council, its response to its observations and suggestions, and its follow-up to implement its recommendations.
HE the Speaker also thanked the Deputy Speaker of the Council, the observers and the rapporteurs of its permanent committees in the past four sessions of the council and the members of the Council, stressing that they were up to the national responsibility and performed their tasks with honesty, sincerity and impartiality.
He thanked the General Secretariat of the Shura Council for its appreciated efforts, all the council's employees and workers, and the honorable citizens for their opinions and suggestions, as well as the newspapers and media outlets who followed the council's sessions and its internal and external activities.
At the end of the session, a number of Shura Council members spoke and expressed their thanks and appreciation to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for the trust and care given to them by him, as well as for his wise policy and sound directives.
They also expressed their pride in the council's important achievements during its last four sessions, and the great role it played in deepening and consolidating the Shura approach, and in supporting the comprehensive renaissance of the country under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir.
The council members praised the efforts of HE al-Mahmoud since his election as Speaker, which resulted in upgrading the work of the council and developing its performance, as well as for his good management of the council's affairs and keenness for the council to play its full role in legislation, oversight and attention to citizens' issues.
They also praised his effective movement in the field of parliamentary diplomacy, especially during the unjust blockade imposed on the country, and the positive results achieved in highlighting the influential regional and international role of Qatar, its achievements and clarifying its positions.