Eight women among 418 hopefuls in Kuwait election race
Kuwaiti candidate Haya al-Mutairi registers in the last day for the upcoming parliamentary election in Kuwait City on July 6 (AFP)
More than 400 people have signed up to run as candidates in the Kuwaiti parliamentary elections on July 27.
The list of 418 hopefuls at the end of the 10-day registration process on Saturday afternoon includes eight women, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.
Under election rules, candidates who wish to pull out of the race must do so at least one week before the elections.
The high number of candidates seemed to indicate that the election boycott calls issued by some opposition figures went largely unheeded as the country looked ready to start a new chapter after months of political and constitutional turmoil.
The opposition has been pushing for a boycott to protest against a decree that amended the 2006 controversial electoral law and reduced the number of ballots a voter could cast from four to one.
For the opposition, mainly conservative and tribal figures, the decree issued in October was meant to reduce its power and limit its influence while securing the election of a rubber-stamp parliament.
However, for the government, the amendment fixed an anomaly that often resulted in challenges to election results and brought the local election law in line with international standards.
A long standoff between the opposition and the government ended on June 16 when the Constitutional Court, whose rulings cannot be challenged, kept the decree although it dissolved the parliament and called for new legislative elections.
The performance of women in the elections will be monitored closely amid expectations that they will do better than in 2009 when for the first time in the country’s history four women won seats.
Their elation lasted until February 2012 when no woman won in the parliamentary elections.
However, women made a comeback in December 2012 when three were elected in the national polls boycotted by a large segment of the opposition.