Kuwaiti Women to Protest Suffrage Discrimination

Published February 1st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Dozens of Kuwaiti women are planning to descend on election registration centers and attempt to register to vote in protest of Parliament's recent rejection of a law supporting women's suffrage, according to the Gulf News daily. 


''It is a step to stress our constitutional rights to the government and to the whole world,'' said Sheikha Al Nisf, the head of the Women's Cultural Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for women's political and social issues. 


An official in the Interior Ministry said that the women would be stopped from registering because it is not legal. The ministry on Saturday published lists for centers in Kuwait's 25 constituencies for the roughly 113,000 eligible male voters to register. 


Nevertheless, the women -- already considered to be among the most liberal in the Gulf region, with some holding key government and newspaper positions and serving in diplomatic missions -- plan to make their voices heard. 


They are protesting Parliament's November vote against a bill that would give women the right to vote and run for office in the next elections in 2003. But the mostly Islamist and traditional tribal and all-male body shot the law down by two votes. This was in spite of Emir Sheikh Jabar al-Ahmad a-Sabah's decree last May after dissolving parliament that gave women full political rights. It was a decree that received support from Kuwait's western allies and other Arab countries where women have suffrage rights. Al Nisf said that the women do not intend to turn the protest into a violent one and will not clash with security forces if they stop them from registering. 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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