In July 1999, His Highness the Emir appointed a committee to draft a permanent constitution for Qatar. The tenets of the Constitution are based on Qatar’s affiliation to the Arabic world and the teachings of Islam.
On April 29, 2003, a public referendum overwhelmingly approved the new Constitution and on June 8, 2004, the Emir decreed the Permanent Constitution of the state of Qatar to be ratified.
The Constitution provides that Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab state. Its religion is Islam, its political system democratic (Shari’a law is the main source of its legislation) and the official language Arabic. The people are the source of power and government is based on the separation of powers. The Constitution provides for the establishment of an Advisory Council, two-thirds of whom are elected and the remainder appointed by the Emir.
The Constitution upholds personal liberty; safeguards equal rights, duties and opportunities for all citizens; and protects private ownership. It protects the freedoms of expression, the press and religion, as well as the right to education.
The executive authority is vested in the Emir. Rule of the state is hereditary, following the male descendants of the Al-Thani family. Rule is inherited by the son named Heir Apparent (a Muslim of a Qatari Muslim mother) by the Emir.
Legislative authority is vested in the Municipal Council. Judicial Authority is independent and vested in courts of law. Only persons of Qatari nationality may hold Ministerial posts.
The Constitution states that Qatari society is based on the values of justice, benevolence, freedom, equality and high morals. The family is the basis of society.
Foreign policy is based on the principle of strengthening international peace and security and every Qatari citizen has a duty to defend the state.