Islamist, pro-gov’t members defeat liberals in Kuwait Parliament elections

Published July 6th, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

Kuwait's cabinet submitted its resignation to Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, Kuwait television reported Sunday. The resignation, in accordance with the emirate's constitution, follows Saturday's 10th legislative elections.  

 

The new parliament will hold its inaugural session on July 19.  

 

Liberals were almost completely wiped out in Kuwait's legislative elections while many veteran lawmakers representing the emirate's main political groupings also lost the race to the new 50-seat parliament, according to unofficial results. 

 

The new Kuwaiti parliament is now dominated by Islamists and pro-government members, according to final counts announced on Kuwait television through Saturday night. 

 

Liberals, who in the outgoing parliament held eight seats, only managed to win two. Their seats went to Islamist and pro-government candidates. 

 

Veteran liberal opposition figure Abdullah al-Naibari, from the Kuwait Democratic Forum, was knocked out, leaving the grouping with no parliamentary representation. 

 

Well-known liberal figures Ahmed al-Rubie and MP Mishari al-Osaimi also lost. 

 

The Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), the leading mainstream Islamist group, won two seats, down from five, and also lost leading opposition figure Mubarak al-Duwailah. ICM's main figure, Nasser al-Sane, only just skimmed through to win back his seat, according to AFP

 

However, the ICM's loss was compensated by a victory for the Islamist Salafi Movement, which held its ground with at least two winners while the so-called Scientific Salafi group, an offshoot of the main movement, now has three seats, up from one in the previous parliament. 

 

Its members include hard-line Islamist Waleed al-Tabtabai. Independent Islamists also gained seats. Leading Shiite opposition figures Adnan Abdul Samad and Abdul Mohsen Jamal both lost but their seats were filled by other Islamist Shiites. 

 

The Shiites, who had six seats in the outgoing parliament, now have five, four of them Islamist and one pro-government. 

 

The new parliament includes 24 new faces and the remaining 26 are incumbent parliament members from the outgoing 1999 National Assembly. 

 

Islamists, a formation of Sunni, Shiites and independents, now have 16 MPs, while pro-government MPs number approximately 20. 

 

A total of 136,715 men were qualified to vote for the new parliament out of a local population of 898,000. Women are barred from voting or running for political office. Unfazed by temperatures of almost 50 degrees Celsius, Kuwaiti men eligible to vote cast their ballots from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm (local time) in the emirate's 25 electoral constituencies. 

 

Local issues dominated election platforms, essentially employment, the economy, education, healthcare, housing, Islamization, political reform and a separation of the posts of crown prince and premier. 

 

In the meantime, women held mock elections at the Kuwait Journalists' Association, hopeful that their symbolic action might make a difference in securing their future political rights. 

 

"I feel great," Hana Razzuqi told AFP after voting in a makeshift booth. "This is the first time I've been through the process of elections, or as it's supposed to be. 

 

"In a way, it is a protest vote, maybe ours will be a shadow parliament," she said. "I don't expect marvelous results out of this but it's the first real initiative. It's well known that rights are acquired, not given." (Albawaba.com) 

© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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