Independent Businessman Wins Kuwait\'s by-Election
Independent Kuwaiti businessman Jamal Hussein al-Omar has won Thursday's by-election for a parliamentary seat that fell vacant after the death of an MP, the interior ministry said on Friday.
Twelve candidates contested the seat that was held by leading liberal MP Sami al-Munayyes, who died of heart attack in August.
Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab monarchy that has an elected parliament, though women are deprived of the right to vote and run for public office.
Omar, 38, with a degree in petroleum science, unsuccessfully contested the July 1999 general polls.
Immediately after he was declared winner, he said he would support Kuwaiti women gaining full political rights.
But observers believe that this would only have a marginal impact on a draft bill calling to give women full political rights, as many MPs are still opposed to women franchise.
In November last year, a coalition of Sunni Islamic and tribal MPs narrowly defeated a similar bill despite government support. The bill was resubmitted for consideration in this parliamentary term.
Elections are held every four years to the 50-seat parliament which enjoys extensive legislative and supervisory powers, but only 113,000 adult men are eligible voters in this emirate with 800,000 people -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)