DOHA: Changing demographics in the country fuelled by new urban development plans might have led to the re-demarcation of Central Municipal Council (CMC) constituencies.
Election to the CMC was first held in early 1999 and the 29 constituencies had almost equal numbers of Qataris at the time.
However, the situation has changed over the past 15 years as some areas have been almost deserted by Qataris due to acquisition of private properties by the state for public use.
One such area is Al Jisra, according to the chairman of the CMC, Saud Al Hanzab. The population of locals has declined there drastically.
Al Hanzab, in remarks to local Arabic daily Al Raya published yesterday, lauded the recent move by the Ministry of Interior to re-demarcate CMC constituencies.
He was particularly appreciative of the fact that the largest constituency in terms of size, Abu Hamour (which extended from the intersection on Salwa Road that was earlier called Decoration Roundabout, to Abu Samra) has been divided into three constituencies.
Some 21 areas have been taken out of this constituency and added to Al Hilal.
Al Hanzab said that dividing Abu Hamour constituency was a long-standing demand of the CMC.
According to some CMC members, prior to the recent re-demarcation, some constituencies had 200 Qatari families while some had as many as 3,000.
“So there were imbalances, which the recent re-demarcation tries to remove,” said a CMC member.
Mohamed Al Athba, citing an example, said that due to changing demographics, in the recent re-demarcation, Muaither North and Muaither South had been merged and the constituency was now called Muaither.
But another CMC member, Jaber Al Nabit, said he was opposed to the merger because the two Muaither constituencies had a Qatari population of 3,000 each. Now, after merger, the population has doubled to 6,000. “This is a big number,” he told the daily.
Some CMC members have urged the authorities to release a map of the re-demarcated constituencies, for clarity.
“Such a map would serve a good purpose,” said Ahmed Al Sheeb, who represents Umm Salal constituency in the CMC. He said the re-demarcation was done at the right time since elections to the CMC are not far away. The CMC has a four-year term. The next election is due in 2015.