The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, announced on 2 November that Qatar will hold elections for its advisory council in 2013.

These will be the first legislative elections to take place in Qatar, which has previously held only municipal polls.

“We know that all these steps are necessary to build the modern state of Qatar and the Qatari citizen, who is capable of dealing with the challenges of the time and building the country,” the Emir was quoted as saying.

All Qatari citizens over the age of 18 will be eligible to vote in the elections. The country has a population of about 1.6 million people, of which more than 80 per cent are foreign workers.