Opposition eyes comeback in polls
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