Op­po­si­tion eyes come­back in polls

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti op­po­si­tion groups are aim­ing for a come­back in par­lia­ment af­ter a four-year elec­tion boy­cott, seek­ing to re­verse what they see as the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the state. More than 30 prom­i­nent Is­lamist and lib­eral op­po­si­tion fig­ures and for­mer law­mak­ers have reg­is­tered to run in the Nov 26 polls in the hope of form­ing a for­mi­da­ble po­lit­i­cal force.

Kuwait’s 50-seat par­lia­ment is con­sid­ered the most pow­er­ful of its kind in the Gulf Arab states thanks to its leg­isla­tive and mon­i­tor­ing ca­pac­i­ties. The op­po­si­tion groups boy­cotted two gen­eral elec­tions in 2012 and 2013 in protest at a change in the vot­ing sys­tem brought uni­lat­er­ally by the gov­ern­ment. The op­po­si­tion al­liance said at the time that the change, later en­dorsed by Kuwait’s con­sti­tu­tional court, would al­low the gov­ern­ment to con­trol par­lia­ment and pro­mote au­to­cratic rule.

“The op­po­si­tion has dis­cov­ered that the boy­cott was not the right choice. In fact, they found that they have only iso­lated them­selves,” po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Nasser Al-Ab­dali said. “I think the boy­cott has con­sid­er­ably weak­ened the op­po­si­tion as a whole,” Ab­dali, the head of Kuwait So­ci­ety for the Pro­mo­tion of Democ­racy, told AFP. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad AlSabah last month dis­solved the par­lia­ment over a dis­pute over a hike in petrol prices and called for snap polls.

KUWAIT: Is­lamist op­po­si­tion lead­ers and can­di­dates (from right) Osama AlMe­nawer, Walid Al-Tabtabaei, Bader Al-Da­houm and Adel Al-Damkhi are seen on Oct 30, 2016 dur­ing a cam­paign meet­ing for the up­com­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tion. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

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