Kuwaiti Government Plans to Resubmit Bill on Women's Vote
The Kuwaiti government plans to resubmit a bill on granting women the vote that was narrowly defeated in parliament last November, Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said Saturday.
"The government is seriously contemplating resubmitting this issue to parliament when the conditions are right," he said, quoted in newspapers.
"Kuwaiti women, with their high level of education and knowledge, deserve full political rights, and we will be supporting and backing them."
In November, a strong coalition of Sunni Muslim fundamentalists and tribal MPs in the Gulf Arab state defeated by two votes the bill which would have granted women full political rights.
The vote came a week after MPs rejected a decree on the vote for women and their right to run for office issued by the emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, in May 1999, on the grounds that it was issued after dissolution of parliament.
The new government bill would be presented after parliament reconvenes on October 23rd following a three-month summer recess.
The cause of Kuwaiti women suffered a further setback on July 4th when the country's highest court dismissed four cases filed by women who argued that the electoral law barring women voters was unconstitutional.
The court is due to hear a fifth case in September presented by a Kuwaiti man.
Kuwaiti liberals, meanwhile, charging that the government has not done enough to secure passage of the legislation, are preparing to submit a bill in parliament on their own.
Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab monarchy to have an elected parliament. The emirate held its first general election in 1962, just months after independence, but parliament has since been suspended twice - KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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