Kuwaiti Women Demand to Register as Voters
On Sunday, Kuwaiti women activists, ignoring repetitive failures to gain political rights, marched into voter registration stations to demand the right to place their names to electoral lists. "When will Kuwaiti women get their political and social rights? Vote and stand in elections?" read one banner.
According to Gulf News, scores of women in Kuwait marched to the stations waving banners demanding equal rights and reminding the country of a failed 1999 decree by Emir Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah granting them the right to vote and run for public office.
Following elections in 1999, Kuwait's parliament rejected the Emir's decree. Later, it voted against a draft law, which would have granted women political rights in the oil-rich state. A new draft law is currently before parliament.
Kuwait has 25 constituencies with registration stations spread across the small country of around 835,000 Kuwaitis and 1.4 million foreigners.
At one station, the district chief was not present and employees told women who assembled there that they had no authority to add their names on voter lists, witnesses said.
In Kuwait, the only Gulf Arab State with an elected parliament, the electorate of some 115,000 eligible male voters are invited to register in February of every year.
Kuwait also holds local elections for an assembly that, like parliament, has a four-year term. The next municipal and general elections are scheduled for 2003. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)