Fatima Al Rasheedi Image Credit: Supplied

Manama: Only one woman, Fatima Al Rasheedi, will be contesting in Kuwait’s municipal elections next month compared with the 72 men who signed up their names.

Kuwait typically has low female representation, but the number marks a sharp decrease from the last election in 2013 where four women registered to run.

Municipal elections usually generate less excitement than parliamentary polls among voters.

The Fourth District is leading with 17 candidates, followed by the Third District with 13 candidates, the eighth with nine, the sixth with seven, including one woman, the ninth with six, the fifth and tenth with five each, the first and the second with four each and the seventh with three candidates.

The assistant director general for legal affairs in elections Salah Shatti said that the education ministry would provide 102 schools that would be used as polling stations in the elections on May 12.

Candidates who want to pull out of the race have until the end of the working hours on May 4 to withdraw their applications, he said.

“They must submit a handwritten letter stating their intention to withdraw,” he said.

If candidates in a specific district withdraw and only one remains in the race, he or she is automatically elected, Al Shatti added.

Municipal elections are held in Kuwait every four years with the winners of the ten districts forming the Municipal Council.

Six other members are appointed by the cabinet, bringing the total number of the council to 16.

In June 2005, the cabinet appointed two women for the first time in the country’s history.

The appointment was in the aftermath of Kuwait’s parliament voting in May 2005 to allow women to vote and run in parliamentary and municipal elections.

The council elects its own chairman and vice chairman.

In October last year, the cabinet dissolved the municipal council and an interim committee was tasked with carrying out its duties until the elections next month.

Women were given the right to vote and run in parliamentary and municipal elections in 2005.

Only one woman was elected Member of Parliament in November last year.