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Professor Ra’ad Naji Mustafa Al Jidda with his book.
By Mohammed Osman
DOHA: Professor Ra’ad Naji Mustafa Al Jidda, a legal expert and former lecturer of constitutional law in Baghdad University, who has authored a book on the Qatar’s Constitution, says that the Constitution was built on solid principles that make it capable to respond to the new developments and growing needs of the country and its people.
An Iraqi national born in 1950 in Baghdad, Jidda had taught constitutional law in different Iraqi universities for more than two decades. He has authored more than eight books and tens of research papers on constitutions and legislations. He is currently working in Qatar.
“The Qatari Constitution has adopted the principles in the constitutions of leading democracies in the world and has integrated them with the Arab and Islamic identity of the Qatari society. This is what makes it capable to respond to the political, social and economic development of the country and its people,” Jidda told The Peninsula.
Asked about the inspiration behind writing his new book, Jidda said: “When I joined my current job in Qatar, I felt there is the need for a book that can contribute to creating a constitutional culture in this country. The Emir’s decision to conduct parliament elections in Qatar in the second half of this year (2013) encouraged me to speed up writing this book. I believe such a book will contribute to creating legal awareness among Qataris in a scientific way and prepare them for the coming elections with an understanding of the law and the Constitution,”
Although the book deals with a legal issues, Jidda says that he has tried to make it acceptable to all segments of readers.
“I did my best to make the language as simple as possible so that it will be accepted by all readers whether they are experts or ordinary readers. I tried to avoid using technical jargons since the aim of the book is to reach all readers and raise public awareness.
“Of course, this book is on Qatari Constitution but it is also important for every Arab reader, who wants to know about the constitutional institutions in Qatar, the principles of the Constitution and the democratic process in the country,” he added.
The book is divided into three parts. The first focuses on the general principles of making a constitution and the second part tells about the development of the Qatari Constitution and the third is about the current Constitution.
“Through my book, I have tried to help the Qatari reader judge the development of the constitution and the approach used in Qatar in interpreting the constitution and ways of making amendments to the constitution.
“I have discussed the different stages in the development of the Qatari Constitution from the interim constitution issued in 1970 and amendments made in this in 1972 after independence, which continued until the final approval of the permanent Constitution in 2004,” said Jidda.
“I have focused more on the permanent Constitution which was developed through an internationally approved process, including a public referendum. Referendum is one of the best ways of seeking public approval for constitutional documents and this is what happened in Qatar in 2003,” he added.