Doha, Oct 14 Reuters - Qatar's emir named two women among his new appointments to the Gulf state advisory Shura Council on Thursday, after partial elections held for the first time earlier this month saw not one of the more than 20 women candidates secure a seat.
In the first national election in Qatar, candidates competed for 30 of the 45 seats on the council. The emir continues to appoint the remaining 15 members of the body, which has limited sway over public policies in the monarchy and bans political parties.
Dashing hopes for a stronger voice for women in the Gulf monarchy. Voters elected an all-male line-up for the council which has included a small number of men in the past. A statement by the office of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani cited two women in the NMC - Sheikha bint Yousef Al-Jufairi and Hamda bint Hassan al-Sulaiti -.
Neither a woman runs for president in the elections.
Though in recent years Qatar has introduced reforms to women's rights, including allowing women to have a driving license, it was criticised by rights groups for issues like the guardianship system, where a woman needs male permission to marry, travel and access reproductive health.
Kuwait has been the only Gulf monarchy to give substantial powers to an elected parliament, although ultimate decision making rests with its ruler, as in neighbouring states.