Kuwait's Shias claim victory in elections boycotted en masse

Published December 2nd, 2012 - 05:32 GMT
Election officials in Kuwait
Election officials in Kuwait

Kuwaiti Shias, a minority in the country, won 15 seats in the country’s 50-member parliament in polls boycotted by the opposition this weekend, according to official results released on Sunday.

The success of the Shia candidates – who ignored calls to boycott – in Kuwait’s second election this year comes amidst claims from the opposition that voter turnout was just 26.7 per cent.

Opposition leader and former MP Mussallam al-Barrak, tweeted: "The Kuwaiti people have succeeded in bringing down (this) election by not taking part."

In June, the Constitutional Court annulled February’s parliamentary elections that had seen the Islamist-led opposition make significant gains. The court reinstated the previous assembly, allied to the ruling family.

After months of protests, Kuwait's emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, ordered the dissolution of parliament for the fourth time since 2006 and announced new elections.

In October he used emergency powers to change the electoral law, cutting the number of votes per citizen from four to one. He claimed his decree would fix a flawed system and ensure national unity.

The new polling rules triggered an opposition boycott and mass protests, driven by claims that the amendment would manipulate the ballot in favor or pro-government candidates.

There are just four Sunni MPs in the new parliament, compared with 23 in the house elected earlier this year.

Three women have been elected, compared with four in 2009.

 

 

 


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