Qatar Government

General

Qatar is a traditional monarchy headed by an emir. A new constitution came into force in 2005, providing for a 45-seat consultative council, two thirds of whose members would be elected and one third appointed by the emir. Elections are expected in 2007. The previous provisional constitution (1972) called for elections to the 35-seat advisory council (Shura), but none were held; council members were appointed by the ruling family. Qatar is a member of the Arab League, the United Nations, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Overview

Country name :
Conventional long form: State of Qatar
Conventional short form: Qatar
Local long form: Dawlat Qatar
Local short form: Qatar
Note: closest approximation of the native pronunciation falls between cutter and gutter, but not like guitar

Government type :
Traditional monarchy

Capital :
Doha

Administrative divisions :
10 municipalities (baladiyat, singular – baladiyah); Ad Dawhah, Al Ghuwayriyah, Al Jumayliyah, Al Khawr, Al Wakrah, Ar Rayyan, Jarayan al Batinah, Madinat ash Shamal, Umm Sa’id, Umm Salal

Independence :
3 September 1971 (from UK)

National holiday :
Independence Day, 3 September (1971)

Constitution :
Ratified by the Qatari public on 29 April 2003, endorsed by the Emir on 8 June 2004, came into force on 9 June 2005

Legal system :
Discretionary system of law controlled by the amir, although civil codes are being implemented; Islamic law dominates family and personal matters

Suffrage :
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch :
Chief of state: Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa Al Thani (since 27 June 1995 when, as crown prince, he ousted his father, Amir KHALIFA bin Hamad Al Thani, in a bloodless coup); Crown Prince TAMIM bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, third son of the monarch (selected Heir Apparent by the monarch on 5 August 2003); note – Amir HAMAD also holds the positions of Minister of Defense and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces
head of government: Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Khalifa Al Thani, brother of the monarch (since 30 October 1996); Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD bin Khalifa Al Thani, brother of the monarch (since 20 January 1998); First Deputy Prime Minister HAMAD bin JASIM bin JABIR Al Thani (since 16 September 2003; also Foreign Minister since 1992); Second Deputy Prime Minister Abdallah bin Hamad al-ATTIYAH (since 16 September 2003; also Energy Minister since NA 1992)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary
note: in April 2003, Qatar held nationwide elections for a 29-member Central Municipal Council (CMC), which has consultative powers aimed at improving the provision of municipal services; the first election for the CMC was held in March 1999

Legislative branch :
Unicameral Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura (35 seats; members appointed)
Note: no legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body; Council members have had their terms extended every four years since; the new constitution, which came into force on 8 June 2004, provides for a 45-member Consultative Council, or Majlis al-Shura; the public would elect two-thirds of the Majlis al-Shura; the amir would appoint the remaining members

Judicial branch :
Court of Appeal
note: under the new judiciary law issued in 2003, the former two court systems, civil and Islamic law, were merged under a higher court, the Court of Cassation, established for appeals

Political parties and leaders :
none

Political pressure groups and leaders :
none

International organisation participation :
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDB, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US :
chief of mission: Ambassador Badr Umar al-DAFA
chancery: 4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 274-1600 and 274-1603
FAX: [1] (202) 237-0061
consulate(s) general: Houston

Diplomatic representation from the US :
chief of mission: Ambassador Chase UNTERMEYER
embassy: Al-Luqta District, 22 February Road, Doha
mailing address: P. O. Box 2399, Doha
telephone: [974] 488 4101
FAX: [974] 488 4298

Flag description :
Maroon with a broad white serrated band (nine white points) on the hoist side

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