Constituency switch: Tactic to win seat in parliament
KUWAIT: Many candidates contesting parliamentary elections due on November 26 have employed numerous strategies and ploys to maximize their chances of winning a much coveted seat in Parliament.
One maneuver that has been in vogue in the run up to this year’s election is something known as the, “constituency switch” where candidates would file their candidacies in a new constituency in a bid to increase the likelihood of success.
However, this ploy certainly requires shrewdness on the part of the candidate, where a thorough study of the lineups of each constituency is needed, in addition to a shift in ideologies to cater to the needs and wishes of the electorates in each constituency.
Moreover, another reason for the constituency switch is instability or forms of chicanery that have plagued some constituencies, most notably, reports of “unlawful consultations” in some constituencies have become commonplace.
Furthermore, two Kuwaiti academics reasoned that there is more to the constituency switch than mere aspirations of success. “Social and political factors reflective of strife amongst rivaling tribes, families and sects figure into things,” they said.
Sociology professor at Kuwait University (KU) Ali Al-Zaabi noted that a candidate’s move from one constituency to another usually involves tribal, familial and intellectual reasons. Kuwaiti society, Zaabi noted, is governed by rigid social and familial values that determine how appealing or acceptable a candidate is found to be. “A social obligation is thrust upon a candidate when he makes the move from one constituency to another,” he added.
Meanwhile, professor of communications at KU Dr Abdurrazzaq Al-Shayji said that the constituency switch first emerged in the 1980s, where candidates typically favor contesting elections in a constituency that is void intellectual, tribal, economic and sectarian unrest.
“When candidates move to another constituency, it is because they don’t like their chances of success,” Al-Shayji said. However, he underscored that candidates need to make major tweaks to their election campaigns in order to connect with a new electorate.
“Some candidates make the switch on grounds of preventing rivals from winning a seat in parliament,” he said. Candidates with the greatest chances of success are those who have the ability to sway voters with enticing suggestions and campaign promises, he pointed out. —KUNA
Dr Ali Al-Zaabi Dr Abdurrazzaq Al-Shayji