MP pro­poses re­draw­ing of elec­toral con­stituen­cies

Court or­ders open­ing more bal­lot boxes for re­count

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: Op­po­si­tion law­maker Ali Al-De­qbasi yes­ter­day sub­mit­ted a draft law call­ing for a fun­da­men­tal change to the ex­ist­ing elec­toral con­stituen­cies, which would have an im­por­tant im­pact on the re­sults of elec­tions if ac­cepted. De­qbasi pro­posed that elec­toral dis­tricts be based on the six ex­ist­ing gov­er­norates in the coun­try, with four of the gov­er­norates elect­ing 10 MPs each and the re­main­ing two elect­ing just five law­mak­ers each to make up the 50 mem­bers of the Na­tional Assem­bly.

Ac­cord­ing to the bill, res­i­den­tial ar­eas in the Cap­i­tal gov­er­norate will make up the first con­stituency, which will elect 10 MPs. Each el­i­gi­ble voter will be al­lowed to se­lect a max­i­mum of four can­di­dates. Hawally, Far­waniya and Ah­madi gov­er­norates will make the sec­ond, third and fourth con­stituen­cies re­spec­tively, and each of them will elect 10 law­mak­ers. Also, each voter in these dis­tricts can se­lect a max­i­mum of four can­di­dates. The last two dis­tricts will be that of Mubarak Al-Kabeer and Jahra gov­er­norates, with each elect­ing five MPs and ev­ery voter al­lowed to se­lect up to two can­di­dates.

Chang­ing elec­toral con­stituen­cies or the vot­ing sys­tem can be done through a law, but the num­ber of MPs in the Assem­bly can only be al­tered only through an amend­ment of the con­sti­tu­tion, which is a very com­pli­cated process. The Kuwaiti con­sti­tu­tion has never been amended since it was is­sued in 1962.

Chang­ing the elec­toral law, par­tic­u­larly the vot­ing sys­tem, was one of the top pri­or­ity is­sues dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign last month, es­pe­cially by op­po­si­tion can­di­dates. Most op­po­si­tion groups had boy­cotted the Dec 2012 and July 2013 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions to protest the gov­ern­ment’s uni­lat­eral change of the vot­ing sys­tem.

Some op­po­si­tion groups still boy­cotted last month’s polls for the same rea­son, but a ma­jor­ity of the op­po­si­tion groups re­turned to the fray and won nearly half of the 50 seats. The op­po­si­tion says that the change in the elec­toral law in 2012 di­vided the coun­try on tribal, sec­tar­ian and fam­ily lines, and is pre­par­ing pro­pos­als to amend it.

Mean­while, the con­sti­tu­tional court yes­ter­day or­dered the open­ing of a num­ber of bal­lot boxes of last month’s polls from the fourth con­stituency to ex­am­ine pe­ti­tions against the re­sults. The court on Sun­day or­dered the open­ing of sev­eral boxes from the sec­ond and third con­stituen­cies. The court will sit again to­day and in late Jan­uary to is­sue its rul­ings on this is­sue.

The rap­por­teur of the Assem­bly’s pub­lic funds pro­tec­tion com­mit­tee MP Ab­dul­wa­hab Al-Bab­tain said the panel has set its pri­or­ity list, and it will start dis­cussing alleged wrong­do­ing in dis­tri­bu­tion of state farms, state funds in­vested in Kuwait and Gulf Link Co (KGL) and the is­sue of Kuwait In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity (KIA). Other is­sues to be dis­cussed in­clude the Shell con­tract and the pro­posed sale of 50 per­cent of gov­ern­ment-owned com­pa­nies. Bab­tain said the com­mit­tee will also dis­cuss the Jaber Sta­dium, Jaber Cause­way, the Kuwaiti loan to Rus­sia and other is­sues.

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