Op­po­si­tion wins seats in vote, as does just one woman

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Op­po­si­tion mem­bers are set to re­turn to Kuwait’s par­lia­ment af­ter a more than three-year ab­sence, though only one woman se­cured a place in the leg­is­la­ture, elec­tions re­sults re­leased yes­ter­day showed. Kuwaitis voted Satur­day for rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the oil-rich coun­try’s 50-mem­ber par­lia­ment, the most em­pow­ered among the Gulf Arab states. The elec­tion was held against the back­drop of lin­ger­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns fol­low­ing a deadly sui­cide bomb­ing last year, as well as anx­i­ety over the depth of cut­backs to gen­er­ous state­funded perks driven by a slump in oil rev­enues. The gains by the op­po­si­tion are un­likely to se­ri­ously up­end the tiny Western-al­lied coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal or­der. Par­lia­ment still ap­pears to be con­trolled by pro-gov­ern­ment law­mak­ers, who have the au­thor­ity to ques­tion gov­ern­ment min­is­ters. Power in the coun­try ul­ti­mately re­mains with the hered­i­tary emir. Six prom­i­nent op­po­si­tion fig­ures who have taken part in street protests se­cured seats in Satur­day’s vote. So did 13 po­lit­i­cal new­com­ers, in­clud­ing four backed by dif­fer­ent Kuwaiti youth lib­eral groups and nine rep­re­sent­ing tribal group­ings. Po­lit­i­cal par­ties are il­le­gal in Kuwait, mean­ing op­po­si­tion blocs tend to be fluid and form al­liances around par­tic­u­lar is­sues. Safaa al-Hashem was the only woman to win one of the 50 seats up for grabs in Satur­day’s elec­tion. The lib­eral can­di­date has served in pre­vi­ous par­lia­ments, and was one of 15 women who ran for seats. The tribal op­po­si­tion along with its con­ser­va­tive Mus­lim al­lies boy­cotted the last elec­tions in 2013 in a dis­pute over changes to the elec­toral law that they al­leged re­duced their clout. Mem­bers of Kuwait’s sub­stan­tial Shi­ite Mus­lim mi­nor­ity saw their share of seats fall to six from nine pre­vi­ously. A new Cab­i­net is now ex­pected to be formed within a week. The 15-seat Cab­i­net is ap­pointed by the prime min­ster, who in turn is ap­pointed by the emir.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.