Qatar is a sovereign and independent Arab state with Democracy as basis for the system of government. It uses all its resources to defend from any act of aggression. As an initial step towards democracy, women were allowed both to vote and run as candidates for participation in decision making in the country.
The state of Qatar is ruled by the Emir. The power of ruling is hereditary within the Al-Thani family. The power is transferred from father to son in the family. In the absence of a son, the power is transferred to the person whom the Emir chooses.
The country’s economic freedom score is 70.5, making it the 27th freest economy in the 2011 Index. The country is positioned higher than in 2010, when it was ranked 39th with a score of 69. Qatar is ranked 2nd out of 17 countries in the Middle East/North Africa region.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) table shows a country's ranking and score by various number of surveys which is used to determine the score and confidence range of the scoring. Qatar is ranked 19th in the CPI, indicating moderate corruption levels. The corruption level is low compared to its neighbouring country Saudi Arabia which ranks 50th in the CPI.
The country’s ranking improved from 2008, when it was positioned 22nd with a score of 7.0, indicating a decline in corruption levels.
Freedom of information
The local press was regulated under censorship until 1995. Later, the censorship was removed as per instructions of the Emir of the State of Qatar.
World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranks Qatar at 121st rank with a score of 38.00 which indicates that media in Qatar is restricted.
The major newspapers in Qatar include:
- Gulf Times
- The Peninsula
- Qatar Tribune
Qatar earlier had a two court system including;
- The civil, commercial and criminal system
- The Sharia courts
The Sharia courts functioned as per Islamic laws.
In 2004, the two court system was unified into a single court system.
The Courts of law are divided into the following categories:
- Court of Cassation has chambers responsible for deciding on cases of objection for cassation on rulings and proceedings of the law.
- Court of Appeal decides on appeals filed against the sentences issued on criminal, punishments, doctrinal provisions, civil and commercial cases, personal affairs, administrative disputes, inheritance and other cases.
- Preliminary Court has chambers which decide on doctrinal provisions, criminal, personal affairs, punishments, inheritance, civil and commercial, administrative disputes and other cases.
The courts decide on the cases referred to it as per the provisions in law.
The Judiciary Supreme Council: The Judiciary Supreme Council ensures the independence of the judiciary. It is responsible for various functions including:
- Giving opinion on issues related to the judiciary, studying and proposing legislations to develop the judicial system
- Giving its opinion on the appointment, transference, promotion, secondment and retirement of judges
- Deciding on grievances related to judge’s affairs
The Judges are independent and are not subject to removal from office other than specified by the law. Independence of the judiciary is inviolable and interference from other authorities is protected by law.