Browse the listing below to find government information for Qatar, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Qatar at its
Qatar Country Page.
Type: Constitutional Emirate.
Independence: September 3, 1971.
Constitution: 1970 Basic Law, revised 1972; currently under complete review. Branches: Executive--Council of Ministers.
Legislative--Advisory Council (appointed; has assumed only limited responsibility to date). Judicial--independent.
Subdivisions: Fully centralized government; nine municipalities.
Political parties: None, although constitution is being redrafted.
Suffrage: Universal over age 18, since 1999.
Flag: Maroon with white serrated band (nine white points) on the hoist side.
Government of Qatar
The ruling Al Thani family continued to hold power following the declaration of independence in 1971. The head of state is the Emir, and the right to rule Qatar is passed on within the Al Thani family. Politically, Qatar is evolving from a traditional society and government departments have been established to meet the requirements of social and economic progress. The Basic Law of 1970 institutionalized local customs rooted in Qatar's conservative Wahhabi heritage, granting the Emir preeminent power. The Emir's role is influenced by continuing traditions of consultation, rule by consensus, and the citizen's right to appeal personally to the Emir. The Emir, while directly accountable to no one, cannot violate the Shari'a (Islamic law) and, in practice, must consider the opinions of leading notables and the religious establishment. Their position is institutionalized in the Advisory Council, an appointed body that assists the Emir in formulating policy. Elections in 1999 in which men and women participated resulted in the formation of a municipal council. One woman candidate was elected to the municipal council in 2003.
The influx of expatriate Arabs has introduced ideas that call into question the tenets of Qatar's traditional society, but there has been no serious challenge to Al Thani rule. As the most visible sign of the move toward openness, the Al Jazeera satellite television station based in Qatar is considered the most free and unfettered broadcast source in the Arab world. In practice, however, Al Jazeera rarely criticizes the ruling Al Thani family.