Report says tribal power receding

Tribes losing candidates under new electoral system

Gulf News

Manama: Is the traditional power of Kuwait’s largest tribes receding following the adoption of the one-voter, one-vote system?

A report published in Kuwaiti daily Al Kuwaitiya on Tuesday said that the three major tribes have suffered heavy losses under the amendment of the electoral law that slashed the number of candidates a voter could elect from four to one.

The parliamentary elections on Saturday to vote in a new 50-member legislative house were held under the new system introduced in December when Kuwaitis elected their 13th parliament.

Al Rashaida tribe secured only two wins in the Fourth Constituency on July 27 whereas the tribe traditionally won four to five seats under the four-ballot per voter system, the daily said.

Al Mutair tribe, running in the Fourth Constituency as well, did not fare better and was able to win two seats, down from the four to five they had in previous elections.

The third tribe, Al Awazem, outperformed the other two tribes and won three seats in the Fifth Constituency. However, its score was below the four to five seats it invariably carried under the former electoral system.

Most large tribes had opposed the amendment of the electoral system, particularly following their impressive show in the February 2012 elections when they dominated the results alongside Islamist figures.The polls were the last to be held under the four-vote per voter system introduced in 2006.

“The new system has offered a new opportunity for the candidates from the smaller tribes to win seats in the parliament,” the report in the daily said.

Kuwait has been rattled by several political crises, mainly between the opposition and the government, over various issues.

The opposition has been resisting the amendment of the electoral system, but its chances of having it reversed were given a serious blow in June when the Constitutional Court ruled that it was constitutional.

The decisions by the court, the highest in the country, cannot be challenged.

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