On the 13th of July, 1999, Qatar passed into a new era of its modern history when H.H the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani issued decree no (11) in 1999 stipulating the formation of a drafting committee of the permanent constitution in a historic speech he delivered on the occasion. In his speech, H.H the Emir maintained that the Constitution is the basic document that contains the substantial principles orienting the country's policy in different areas, regulates its authorities and its ruling system and defines public rights and obligations.
H.H stressed the importance of expanding the base of public participation in governance through the establishment of an elected parliament. He also defined the basic features of Qatar's prospective permanent constitution as being based on affiliation to the Gulf region and the Arab and Islamic worlds and observing the Arabic profound traditions and sublime teachings of Islam. A constitutional committee named The Drafting Committee of the Permanent Constitution, headed by a chairman and his deputy and consisting of thirty other members was formed.
The Emiri decree stipulated that the committee should draft a permanent constitution for the country in no more than three years as of the date of the issuance of the decree. The Committee was instructed to issue a report every six months to brief H.H the Emir of the output of its work. At the end of its mission, the committee should submit the manuscript accompanied by its recommendations to H.H the Emir. On the second of July, 2002, H.H the Emir received the draft of the permanent constitution which lays the basic foundations of the society, regulates the State's authorities, embodies the public participation in governance and ensures the rights and liberties of Qatari citizens.
The Constitution consists of five chapters and 150 articles. It stipulates the establishment of a parliament to be called "The Advisory Council" of which two-thirds of its members are elected through free and direct elections, whereas the remaining members are appointed by the Emir. The Advisory Council shall be entrusted with the legislative authority, the endorsement of the public budget and accountability of the ministers and the executive authority.