Manama: The number of candidates for the parliamentary elections in Kuwait at the end of this month has reached 217.
However, five days into the ten-day registration process, the number of women remained low with only four candidates signing up their names in the nationwide drive to win the 50 seats in the oldest parliament in the Gulf.
But while the number of women remained below expectations, the fifth day marked the formal registration of heavyweight male candidates, including some former members and some who boycotted the last elections held on December 1.
The opposition has been pushing for the boycott of the national polls on July 27, but their chances of being heard by the eligible voters looked thin amid calls by pro-elections candidates to move beyond the crucial Constitutional Court ruling on June 16 and take part in the elections.
The court upheld in its much-anticipated ruling the decree amending the 2006 controversial electoral law, putting an end to the attempts by the opposition to have it repealed.
“I am running this time because I cannot give up hope on my nation,” said Marzouq Al Ghanem, who boycotted the previous elections. “Kuwait is a country of constitution and institutions and issues are addressed only within a constitutional framework. Reforms can be achieved through the parliament,” he said in remarks published by local daily Al Jareeda on Tuesday.
Al Ghanem said that all segments of the society should take part in the elections.
“I do expect the turnout to be high and I believe that the next parliament will be a landmark in Kuwait’s history,” he said.
Faisal Al Shaya, who fielded his papers to run in the Third Constituency, said that the boycott option should be dismissed following the Constitutional Court ruling.
“The National Movement will be part of the elections and whoever has a sense of patriotism will be casting his or her ballot,” he said. “We need to support one another and to use wisdom to help achieve development and prosperity. If we do believe that we live in a country of institutions, the way to change the electoral system is through the parliament,” he said.
But as Kuwaitis are gearing up for the elections, a third case was filed to have them postponed.
A Kuwiati voter living in the new residential area of Nahdha said that it was bit listed under the five constituencies on the country’s elections map.
Under the law, only registered citizens in officially registered areas have the right to cast their ballots. The citizen said that Al Nahdha issue needed to be settled before the elections be held.
His petition to have the polls postponed is the third to be filed with the administrative court.
One petition, filed by Adel Abdul Hadi, a lawyer, on behalf of a client, claimed that the call for the elections on July 27 was not legally sound “as it was issued by a cabinet that had no such right since it did not include an elected member of parliament.”
Under Kuwaiti law, the cabinet must have at least one minister who is elected as Member of Parliament.
In the current Cabinet, Dhikra Al Rashidi, the minister of social affairs and labour, is the elected MP who was voted in on December 1.
However, her parliamentary status was nullified in June after the Constitutional Court dissolved the parliament.
The lawyer argued that the cabinet, in the absence of an elected lawmaker, was not legitimate and that its approval of the Emiri call to hold the parliamentary elections on July 27 was not legal.
The administrative court said that it would look into the petitions on July 7.