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While the world focused on the US move to confirm their small Emirate as a key hub in its global military strategy, effectively replacing Saudi Arabia, Qatari voters on 29 April overwhelmingly approved the new Constitution presented by Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani (GSN 708/10).
Interior Ministry Under-secretary Sheikh Hamad Bin Nasser Bin Jassem Al-Thani said 96.6% of participants in the referendum supported the new Constitution, which paves the way for a 45-member Shura (Advisory Council), 30 of whose members will be elected and the rest appointed by the Emir. According to a statement carried by Qatar News Agency, 71,406 Qataris voted, out of an 85,000 electorate. Elections are expected in 2004.
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