Opposition groups and individuals made an impressive showing in the National Assembly elections by winning almost half of the 50 seats, with Kuwaiti voters dealing a heavy blow to the previous Assembly that failed to stop the government from raising petrol prices. The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition, which returned to the polls after a four-year boycott, won at least 15 seats, with between seven and 10 seats won by its allies. This will enable the opposition to grill ministers and vote them out of office, which will considerably boost its power in the next Assembly. Islamists make the backbone of the opposition, with the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), the local arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, bagging four seats and a few supporters.Full Article: Strong showing by opposition, outgoing Assembly punished - Kuwait Times | Kuwait Times.
Articles about voting issues in the State of Kuwait.
In spite of the long and leading march of democracy of Kuwait, the parliamentary election law does not give citizens abroad the opportunity to vote as is the case in most democratic countries. It has been the practice in democratic countries where citizens living abroad are allowed to vote in the elections, even if they are resident outside the country, making it easier for the voters to exercise their right and increase the rate of participation in the electoral process.
Participation of Kuwaitis living or studying abroad is of a great significance especially with the rise in their numbers in recent years, which is difficult for many of them to return to the country on time for the parliamentary elections.
Liberals and candidates from some of Kuwait’s more marginalized tribes have won seats in a parliament which may prove more cooperative with the ruling family after opposition Islamists and populists boycotted the election. Saturday’s ballot was the sixth since 2006 in the major oil producer, where political upheaval and bureaucracy have held up the vast majority of projects in a 30-billion-dinar ($105-billion) economic development plan announced in 2010. Kuwait has the most open political system in the Gulf Arab region but parliaments have been repeatedly dissolved over procedural disputes or for challenging the government in which members of the ruling Al-Sabah family hold top posts.Full Article: Liberals, smaller tribes win seats in Kuwait vote after boycott | Reuters.
Kuwait is set to hold parliamentary elections for the third time in 18 months, as a boycott by the opposition movement undermines public interest in the campaign. The vote on July 27 will go ahead after the country’s constitutional court this week rejected an attempt to postpone it. Kuwait’s opposition won the first of last year’s two elections in February, then refused to take part in the second in December, objecting to changes in voting rules that sparked the country’s most violent street protests. The movement, a mix of Sunni Islamists, liberals and youth groups inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings, has called for Kuwait’s rulers to share more powers with elected politicians. It says changes to voting rules ordered last year by Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah were aimed at reducing its chances of winning and making it easier for candidates to buy votes. The emir said they would bolster the democratic process and safeguard unity in Kuwait, OPEC’s third-biggest oil producer.Full Article: Kuwait Prepares Election as Opposition Boycott Threatens Turnout - Bloomberg.
Kuwait: Crisis-weary Kuwait limps toward parliamentary elections with implications for nation, region | The Washington Post
From boycotting ballots to storming parliament, each time Kuwait heads into parliamentary elections the backstory seems to overshadow the vote. Yet the revolving-door series of elections could have an impact not only on this tiny, oil-rich state, but also on fellow nations in the Gulf and the rest of the region. For the election Saturday to pick a new 50-seat parliament — the most empowered elected political body in the Gulf — there might be another boycott, but the real question is whether the vote will ease the internal pressures on Kuwait’s Western-backed ruling dynasty. The challenges come from an emboldened opposition that includes groups ideologically linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and on the other, liberals angered by crackdowns such as prison sentences over social media posts.Full Article: Crisis-weary Kuwait limps toward parliamentary elections with implications for nation, region - The Washington Post.
A Kuwaiti administrative court threw out on Sunday legal challenges to a parliamentary election set for July 27, a judicial source and an elections candidate said, effectively paving the way for the vote to proceed on time. Almost constant factional infighting over the past seven years has prompted repeated elections, stalled infrastructure development and held up economic reforms in Kuwait, an important Gulf Arab oil producer and U.S. ally. A legal source said the Kuwait Administrative Court ruled it had no jurisdiction to look into three legal challenges by Kuwaiti citizens to the vote. One case related to a request to incorporate a residential area into one of the five electoral districts, while another pertained to whether the government had lost its legitimacy and thus its eligibility to call for new elections after a court ordered the dissolution of the previous parliament.Full Article: Kuwait court rejects election challenge, confirms July 27 vote | Reuters.
Separate petitions have been lodged in Kuwait calling for the impromptu election on July 27 to be cancelled. One petition claims the Cabinet did not have the power to set a new poll date because under Kuwaiti law it must have an elected representative from the National Assembly to make decisions, according to Kuwait Times. The assembly was sacked last month after the Constitutional Court ruled the December 2012 election was null and void, leaving only government members appointed by the prime minister.Full Article: Petitions call for Kuwait election to be cancelled - Politics & Economics - ArabianBusiness.com.
Kuwait’s constitutional court forced new parliamentary elections Sunday, dissolving the current chamber on the basis of flaws in the election law, the state news agency reported. The decision may set the stage for a new wave of political showdowns in the Gulf nation. The ruling follows objections to the voting law in December’s election, which was boycotted by opposition groups and others who claimed the new rules favored Kuwait’s ruling family and were imposed without public debate.Full Article: Kuwait Court Dissolves Parliament; Elections Ahead - ABC News.
With the elections quickly approaching, anticipation as well as tensions have grown on the Kuwaiti streets, with many people still leading the charge on the appeal to boycotting on one hand, while equally a great number still insist on the importance of voting, referring to the upcoming elections as a celebration of democracy. Pro-government voters and candidates alike have continuously reiterated that while it is an inalienable right to boycott elections, this however does not affect the inalienable right to vote itself, and that the legitimacy of the elections still stand.Full Article: Kuwait- Tensions rise as elections near - MENAFN.
The newly-established National Election Commission yesterday disqualified 40 candidates including several former MPs over a variety of reasons – mainly over not keeping good conduct – but many of them said they will challenge the decision in court and were confident they will nullify the decisions. The commission, established by an Amiri decree last month, comprises nine top judges and is independent. Its decisions cannot be appealed but can be challenged in the administrative court. Prominent among those disqualified are former MPs Youssef Al- Zalzalah, Saleh Ashour, Khalaf Dumaitheer, Askar Al-Enezi, Khaled Al- Adwah, Saadoun Hammad and Mubarak Al-Khrainej, all of whom were incidentally questioned over allegations that they received millions of dinars in illegal deposits into their bank accounts.Full Article: 40 candidates disqualified – Liberals reaffirm boycott – Tweeters remanded | Kuwait Times.
What started as a dispute over voting rules in Kuwait has mushroomed into a debate about the balance of power between the emir and parliament, with implications for other Gulf dynasties facing reform pressure since the Arab Spring. Thousands of Kuwaitis have regularly taken to the streets since late October to protest at Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah’s decision to amend the electoral law before a parliamentary election on December 1. While public demonstrations about local issues are common in a state that allows the most dissent in the Gulf, Kuwait – a major oil producer and U.S. ally in a precarious region facing U.S. arch-foe Iran – has avoided Arab Spring-style mass unrest that toppled three veteran Arab dictators last year.Full Article: Kuwait voting row mushrooms into broader debate over power - chicagotribune.com.
Juggling a series of calls and texts during a 20-minute period, Mohammad Qasem locked his eyes on his mobile phone as a tweet is composed by committee. The energetic Mr Qasem became the general coordinator on Tuesday for citizens who wants Kuwaitis to boycott the country’s election on December 1. The group’s Twitter account, run by a dozen or so people, gained 20,000 followers in its first 24 hours. “It has to be right,” he said, “because I’m sure this tweet will be all over Kuwait.”Full Article: Kuwait election boycott gains momentum despite warnings of 'chaos' - The National.
Opposition political blocs and the mostly Islamist Majority Bloc signed a document on Saturday that rejects any amendments to the Elections Law prior to the upcoming parliament elections. The document rejects changes to the five constituencies and the number of votes, saying the matter is the prerogative of the legislative authority. The signatories include the Majority Bloc, the Kuwaiti Reform Movement, the Popular Bloc, the Reform and Development Bloc, the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), as well as liberal MP Saleh Al-Mullah. News reports predict that HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will approve the decree dissolving the 2009 Assembly this week, as early as Sunday. The government presented HH the Amir with a draft decree to dissolve the 2009 Assembly last Wednesday. However, parliament sources believe that the dissolution will be delayed to later this month, possibly until after Eid Al-Adha.Full Article: Kuwait- Opposition rejects changes to Election Law - Middle East North Africa Financial Network - MENAFN.
Kuwait: Row rages over rumored election law changes – Liberals call for legalizing parties, election commission | Kuwait Times
Two key liberal groups called yesterday for important democratic reforms that include establishing an independent election commission, legalising political parties and issuing legislation to combat corruption as part of democratic reforms necessary to resolve the political deadlock in the country. The National Democratic Alliance, an umbrella group of liberals, and the Kuwait Democratic Forum, made the calls in a joint statement which insisted that these are essential demands to gradually achieving a full parliamentary system of governance after 50 years of democracy. Kuwait does not have an independent election commission and the ministries of interior and justice organize and manage the election process and declare results, whereas the constitutional court tackles challenges to election results or the election process. The statement also called for issuing legislation to guarantee more independence of the judicial authority and to support the constitutional court in order guarantee all factors for a fair judiciary.Full Article: Row rages over rumored election law changes – Liberals call for legalizing parties, election commission | Kuwait Times.
Kuwait: Thousands Rally against Court Ruling Dissolving Opposition-led Parliament | International Business Times
Protesters have taken to the streets of Kuwait City to criticise a constitutional court ruling that declared parliamentary elections in February illegal and reinstated the previous parliament. The National Assembly elections saw the opposition dominate and replace a more pro-regime parliament. That election result was torpedoed by the court ruling, which protesters said followed opposition calls for a constitutional monarchy with a full parliamentary system. “This is the beginning of the road to a constitutional monarchy,” prominent opposition MP Mussallam al-Barrak told protesters. “We call on the authorities to issue a new decree to dissolve the 2009 parliament.”Full Article: Thousands of Kuwaitis Rally against Court Ruling Dissolving Opposition-led Parliament - International Business Times.
Kuwait’s cabinet has resigned after protesters and opposition deputies demanded that the prime minister step down over allegations of corruption, state-run television has reported. “The prime minister [Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah] has submitted his resignation to the emir,” Kuwait TV said, without specifying whether it had been accepted. Earlier, opposition member Khaled al-Sultan said the cabinets’s resignation was accepted amid a bitter political dispute between the prime minister and opposition MPs. “We are waiting for the appointment of a new prime minister before parliament is dissolved in order to be assured of fair elections,” the Sultan told reporters outside parliament. Parliament speaker Jassem al-Khorafi said he had not been informed about a dissolution of parliament.Full Article: Kuwait cabinet resigns amid political crisis - Middle East - Al Jazeera English.
More than half of Kuwait’s members of parliament have resigned in protest at a court’s decision to annul an election that had given the Islamist-led opposition a majority. The resignations deepen the political crisis in the major oil exporter which has so far avoided the widespread dissent that has ousted heads of state in some other Arab countries. Wednesday’s ruling effectively dissolved the parliament elected in February and reinstated its predecessor, but the resignations by many lawmakers who were in the previous parliament deprives the 50-seat assembly of more than half its members, making it difficult to function. The number of resigning lawmakers had risen by Thursday to at least 26, parliamentary sources said. “It does us no honour to be part of the 2009 assembly which was brought down by the nation,” said Jamaan al-Harbish after Wednesday’s ruling, speaking on behalf of several lawmakers. “We thus tender our resignations,” he added.Full Article: More than half Kuwait's parliament resigns | Reuters.
A veteran Kuwaiti politician has blamed the emergence of sectarianism as an important factor to be elected to parliament. “The emergence of chaos and of negative phenomena, including the sectarian dimension, has enabled people to reach the parliament,” Ahmad Al Khatib, the deputy chairman of the 1962 constituent assembly that drafted the constitution, said. “ The emergence of chaos and of negative phenomena, including the sectarian dimension, has enabled people to reach the parliament ”Full Article: gulfnews : Veteran politician says negative phenomena impacted election outcome.
Kuwait’s Islamist-led opposition has won a landslide majority in snap polls, securing 34 seats in the 50-member parliament, officials results showed. The snap polls were held after the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state dissolved parliament following youth-led protests in December over alleged corruption and bitter disputes between opposition MPs and the government. Sunni Islamists took 23 seats compared with just nine in the dissolved parliament, while liberals were the big losers, winning only two places against five previously. No women were elected, with the four female MPs of the previous parliament all losing their seats.Full Article: Kuwaiti Islamist-led opposition wins majority - Middle East - Al Jazeera English.
Kuwaitis were casting ballots Thursday in a snap vote to elect the fourth parliament in less than six years, with unofficial polls showing the Islamist-led opposition in the lead. The vote in the wealthy Gulf state, which follows a campaign marred by violence, seeks to end political disputes that have hurt the country for years. Female voters, dressed in clothes ranging from black traditional abayas to casual Western-style jeans, lined up in short queues in voting stations set up for women, as lines of men formed at separate polling booths. Women voters make up 54 percent of the electorate and 23 women are among 286 candidates running for the 50-seat legislative body.Full Article: THE DAILY STAR :: News :: Middle East :: Islamists favourites as Kuwaitis vote.