State and politics
The country is an emirate and the emir appoints the prime
minister and appoints the government. Parliament is missing
and political parties are not allowed. The country became
independent in 1971. A new constitution came into force in
2005 after it was approved in a referendum in 2003.
All power is with the head of state, the emir. The Emir
is also prime minister and appoints the government. The
Emirate of Qatar is governed by the al-Thani family.
Political parties are not allowed. Parliament is missing.
An advisory body was formed in 1972 with 20 members. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of QA and its meanings of Qatar.
The Emir, Sheikh Khalifa, who in power in a bloodless
coup in 1972 took power, initiated economic and social
reforms and limited the al-Thani family's benefits. He was
ousted in June 1995 by his son Hamad bin Khalifa (born
1952), who reformed the government and appointed himself
prime minister while retaining the post of defense minister
The new regime was quickly recognized by neighboring
countries as well as by the United States and the United
Kingdom. The eldest son of the Emir was appointed crown
prince, but in 2003 he was replaced and the younger son
prince Tamim was appointed a successor to the throne.
Demands for a legislative assembly have been raised and
criticism of alleged abuse of power has been made.
Some steps have been taken in a democratic direction; In
1999, the first municipal elections were held in the country
and women participated on equal terms as men. A new
constitution came into force in 2005 since it was approved
in a referendum in 2003. The new constitution included
limited reforms; a consultative council was set up with 30
elected and 15 elected members.
Hamad bin Khalifa initiated a foreign policy course
change and reconnected relations with Iraq and allowed
business contacts with Israel. In the area of domestic
politics, Hamad bin Khalifa promised in 2011 that an
election would be held in 2013 for the country's
consultative council, but it has repeatedly been postponed.
Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
In 2017, cooperation with the other member states was
problematic as they launched a blockade against Qatar. When
Turkey supported the blockade, Qatar deepened cooperation
between the two countries, resulting in a strategic
partnership agreement. Turkey has also been allowed to build
two military bases in Qatar.
Contacts between Qatar and Iran have also deepened. In
2020, Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Qatar's emir met
in Tehran to discuss expanded cooperation in several areas.
Qatar is keen not to clash with Iran as the country is
dependent on revenue from gas deposits in the Persian Gulf,
which are shared with Iran. India also trades gas by Qatar.
80 percent of India's liquefied gas imports come from Qatar
and the country also imports labor from India, which often
works under slave-like conditions.
Qatar's contacts with China have deepened and since 2014
there is a strategic partnership agreement between the
countries. Qatar's contacts with the Russian Federation
remain stable, including an established arms trade between
The EU and Qatar formalized their contacts in 1989, when
the EU and the six Arab Gulf states in the GCC signed a
cooperation agreement that would eventually develop into a
free trade agreement. After years of failed negotiations,
they have been put on ice.
Qatar's relations with the United States remain stable
and the United States is also the largest recipient of
Qatar's foreign investment. Furthermore, Qatar continues to
play a role as a place for US contacts with the Taliban to
start peace talks in Afghanistan.
The legal system in Qatar is based on Islamic law, but
with a significant number of Western-inspired laws. The
judiciary consists of both state and religious courts. The
death penalty is punished for some serious crimes.
Foreign workers today make up the majority of Qatar
residents. Unlike most other Gulf states, Qatar has not
experienced any serious domestic unrest but the situation
for the growing group of guest workers is problematic.
In connection with Qatar upgrading its infrastructure in
preparation for the 2022 World Cup Tournament, several human
rights organizations report on the serious situation of
labor immigrants in the country. No reforms have been
implemented from the authorities to ensure that foreign
guest workers have adequate protection against abuse such as
forced labor and human trafficking.
Forced labor and human trafficking occur to a large
extent, primarily in the domestic work sector. Guest workers
are at risk of being exploited and subjected to abuse by
employers while limiting their civil rights, such as the
right to leave the country. In addition to paying high
recruitment fees, workers' passports are rarely confiscated
by their employers upon arrival in Qatar.
Particularly vulnerable are the women who make up the
majority of household workers. In addition to the problems
that remaining migrants face, they are also subject to
verbal, physical and, in some cases, sexual abuse. For fear
of deportation, the victims rarely report the perpetrators.
Freedom of speech and freedom of expression is limited in
the country by the media in the country being influenced or
controlled by the leading families. Journalism that
criticizes the regime or is perceived to harm the national
interest can be fined and the authorities monitor what is
written and said. In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom
Index for 2015, Qatar is ranked 115 out of 180.
Heads of State
||Ahmad II bin Ali al-Thani
||Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani
||Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
||Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani