Turkey welcomed on Saturday Qatar’s first legislative elections to elect 30 members of the 45-seat Shura Council.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Qatari leadership to hold these elections in a free and transparent environment, which constitutes an important step towards strengthening the participation of the Qatari people in the country’s governance,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Turkey hopes that the election results will be beneficial “to the brotherly people of Qatar,” the ministry added.

Qatari voters began to cast ballots on Saturday in the Gulf state’s first legislative elections.

Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. local time (0500GMT) and will close at 6 p.m. (1500GMT).

Voters will elect 30 members of the 45-seat advisory Shura Council, while the ruling emir will appoint the remaining 15 members.

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