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Manama: Women in Qatar have made history by taking two seats in the quadrennial national elections to choose the 29 members of the Central Municipal Council (CMC).

“The progress may be small, but in the conservative Qatari society, it reflects a new mindset that wants to empower women and to give them more opportunities,” Khalid Majid, a voter, said.

By carrying Constituency Nine thanks to a 40-vote difference over the closest rival in the electoral district of 450 registered voters, Fatima Al Kuwari made her debut in the Council.

She joins Shaikha Al Jefairi from Old Airport neighbourhood of the capital Doha, who, according to preliminary results published in the Qatari media won 852 of the 1,340 votes.

Shaikha has represented the constituency for the last 12 years, winning her seat in 2003 and was until Wednesday the only woman on the 29-member Council.

The three other women who signed up to run in the national elections failed to secure seats. Officials said that the total number of candidates in the fifth Central Municipal Council elections was 110.

The elections were held on Wednesday between 8am and 5pm for 26 seats after three candidates had no challengers in their constituencies.

Turnout is believed to be around 70 per cent amid reports that 14,509 out of the 21,014 registered voters showed up to cast their ballots.