Voters in Qatar are casting ballots in a rare election in the tiny Gulf nation for members of a municipal council.

Wednesday's balloting was the fifth such vote held in the history of Qatar, the oil and natural gas-rich country that will host the 2022 World Cup.

Authorities say more than half of the 21,000 registered voters have cast ballots. Some 110 candidates, only five of them women, are running.

The 29-seat council deals with local issues, covers the whole country and is Qatar's only directly elected body. Elections for the country's main legislative body, the Shura Council, had been expected in 2013 but never took place.