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.
“The large number of new MPs gives hope that a National Assembly with greater popular backing can find a way of improving relations with the government,” said Gulf expert Kristian Ulrichsen, at the U.S.-based Baker Institute for Public Policy, referring to a 12 percent higher turnout than last time.
“The increased turnout signals that many Kuwaitis are ready to put the recent past behind them and move forward,” Ulrichsen said.
In accordance with Kuwait’s legislation, the outgoing cabinet approved a draft decree inviting new lawmakers to hold their first parliamentary session on August 6, state news agency KUNA said.