Elec­tion fever grips Kuwait as snap elec­tions set for Nov 26

Po­lit­i­cal groups, tribes to name can­di­dates soon

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: Snap Na­tional As­sem­bly elec­tions will be held on Nov 26, ac­cord­ing to a de­ci­sion by the Cabi­net yes­ter­day, a day after HH the Amir dis­solved the As­sem­bly over a row over the hike in petrol prices. The Cabi­net’s de­ci­sion will be is­sued in an Amiri de­cree and pub­lished in the of­fi­cial gazette Kuwait Al-Youm to sig­nal the start of the 40-day elec­tion cam­paign to elect 50 new mem­bers to the As­sem­bly.

Un­der the elec­tion law, the Amiri de­cree must be pub­lished in the of­fi­cial gazette at least one month be­fore the elec­tion date. Reg­is­tra­tion of can­di­dates will start after the pub­li­ca­tion for 10 days, and with­drawal from the race will re­main open un­til four days be­fore the elec­tion date. Can­di­dates must be Kuwaiti cit­i­zens by birth and at least 30 years of age on the day of the polls.

Al­most all out­go­ing As­sem­bly mem­bers are ex­pected to seek re­elec­tion. So far, only Salafist MP Ab­dul­rah­man Al-Jeeran said he is not con­test­ing be­cause the Salafist group has unan­i­mously elected exmin­is­ter and for­mer law­maker Ah­mad Baqer to con­test in the sec­ond con­stituency. The three Cabi­net min­is­ters who are elected MPs - Public Works Min­is­ter Ali Al Omair, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Min­is­ter Essa Al-Kan­dari and Awqaf and Jus­tice Min­is­ter Yaqoub AlSane - sub­mit­ted their res­ig­na­tions in or­der to be able to con­test the polls. Their res­ig­na­tions were ac­cepted by the Cabi­net. Un­der Kuwaiti law, the 16-mem­ber Cabi­net must in­clude at least one elected mem­ber from the As­sem­bly.

This year’s elec­tion is ex­pected to at­tract huge at­ten­tion and wit­ness heated races after many op­po­si­tion groups said they will field can­di­dates after boy­cotting the pre­vi­ous two polls in protest against the change in the vot­ing sys­tem. The Is­lamic Con­sti­tu­tional Move­ment, the Kuwaiti arm of the Mus­lim Brother­hood, said it will name its can­di­dates this week.

The op­po­si­tion group, which ended its boy­cott, is field­ing six can­di­dates. The Is­lamist Ummah Prin­ci­ples Group, another op­po­si­tion group that will take part in the polls, is also field­ing sev­eral can­di­dates.

MP Ali Al-Khamees said he has de­cided to seek re­elec­tion mainly to con­front the can­di­dacy of con­tro­ver­sial MP Ab­dul­hameed Dashti, who said on Twit­ter that he is con­tem­plat­ing to run in the elec­tion. Dashti, who has re­ceived to­tal jail sen­tences of over 31 years for in­sult­ing Saudi Ara­bia and Bahrain, has been liv­ing out­side Kuwait since March.

On Sun­day, HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al Sabah dis­solved the As­sem­bly at the rec­om­men­da­tion of the Cabi­net after MPs filed three re­quests to grill min­is­ters for rais­ing petrol prices and al­leged fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive vi­o­la­tions. The As­sem­bly has been dis­solved seven times since 2006 over con­tin­ued dis­putes be­tween MPs and the gov­ern­ment.

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