Manama: Kuwaitis have voted for change as they elected a new municipality council, with only one of the 10 members of the outgoing formation retaining his seat.’
The 90 per cent change coincided with the election of young candidates who will be in charge of the municipal affairs of the northern Arabian Gulf country for the next four years.
Several observers attributed the low turnout, reportedly in the 20s, to the decline of the role of the Municipal Council where membership in the past was considered a stepping stone towards being elected to the parliament.
“There is a shortcoming from the Council itself and from the concerned bodies in raising awareness about its pivotal role and how it plays a key role in drawing up development plans and allocating land for urban and other projects,” one observer said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Sunday.
Fatima Al Rasheedi, the only woman who ran in the elections, was not voted in and the presence of women in the Council will now depend on the government that will announce the six members who will complement the ten elected on Sunday as per the bylaws.
The government has 15 days to announce the names of the six additional members.
The results were announced late in the evening by the chairman of the electoral committee Essam Al Saddani who said the municipal elections were held “in free and democratic atmospheres that reflected the civilized nature of Kuwait.”
Hassan Kamal kept his seat in the council after he received 2,099 votes in the first district where of 17,997 voters were eligible to cast their ballots.
The other winners on Saturday were Abdullah Al Mehri in the second constituency with 3,550 votes out of 24,537, Abdul Aziz Al Mejel in the third constituency with 1,985 votes out of 30,651, Hamad Al Medlej in the fourth constituency with 4,108 votes out of 75,560 and Abdullah Al Roumi in the fifth constituency with 5,336 votes out of 36,722.
Fheid Al Rashidi got 7,329 votes out of 50,247 in the sixth constituency, Mohammad Al Mutairi won 8,480 votes out of 58,479 in the seventh constituency and Ahmad Al Enezi received 8,109 votes out of 77,614 in the eighth constituency.
Ali Al Azmi carried the ninth constituency with 8,702 votes out of 70,277 possible and Hamdi Al Azmi the tenth constituency with 10,755 votes out of 78,552.
The authorities had designated 102 schools as polling stations, for the 248,590 women and 271,577 men eligible to vote.
Under Kuwait’s election laws, each voter is entitled to cast a ballot for a single candidate, registered in his or her constituency.
The council elects its own chairman and vice-chairman.