Kuwaitis go to polls amid boycott

Kuwaitis go to polls amid boycott
Sat Jul 27, 2013 09:37:10

Kuwaiti people are going to polling stations to vote in the third parliamentary elections since February 2011, boycotted by the opposition groups.

The polling stations opened on Saturday as most opposition groups are boycotting the election in protest against an amended electoral law that allows the ruling Al Sabah family to change the voting rule to one vote per person, instead of the previous four votes.

The opposition says the new amendment paves the way for manipulation of the results of the elections and subsequent legislation.

They had also boycotted the last parliamentary vote that was held in December.

Under Kuwait’s political system, supporters and opponents of government can be elected to parliament, but the Emir holds authority over cabinet formation and major decisions. Kuwait’s parliament has been dissolved several times.

About 440,000 people are eligible to take part in the parliamentary elections on July 27, 2013. Some 321 candidates including eight women are contesting the elections compared to 279 including 13 women who contested the Dec 1, 2012 National Assembly elections for the 50-seat Parliament. Kuwait is divided into five constituencies and 10 members represent each constituency.

The elections come a month after the constitutional court dissolved the loyalist-dominated parliament, citing flaws in the procedures leading to the elections of December 2012.

Political analysts say that the parliamentary elections will fail to bring political stability to the country as major opposition groups are boycotting the vote.

Since May 2006, Kuwait has seen the formation of about a dozen cabinets.

Under Kuwait’s 1962 constitution, the ruling Al Sabah family holds key posts including the premiership and the ministries of defense, interior, and foreign affairs.

The opposition is also demanding that the constitution be modified.

In 2011, protesters stormed the parliament, calling for the resignation of former Prime Minister Nasser Mohammed Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

Although Kuwait was the first Arab state in the Persian Gulf to establish an elected parliament in 1962, the Al Sabah family has remained in control of key posts. The family has enjoyed unchallenged power for over 200 years.


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