The opposition parties have won near-majority in Kuwait’s early elections by claiming 24 seats out of the total 50.
Most candidates who have won from the opposition’s side belong to Islamist groups that reportedly have links with Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. The snap polls were called by Emir Sabah al Ahmed al Sabah following a gridlock over economic policies.
• This is the fourth election since 2012. The previous ones were boycotted by the opposition parties in protest against the voting system put in place by the Emir.
• The Shia minority have been reduced to six seats from nine in the previous assembly.
• Safa Al Hashem is the only woman to have won a seat in the new assembly. There were 15 other women candidates in the running, all of whom lost subsequently. This is Safa’s third parliamentary victory.
• One-third of the new Parliament is filled up with newer and younger members. More than half the members of the outgoing parliament failed to grab a seat in the new assembly.
• The elections also saw the highest-ever voter turnout, almost 70%.
This result has only increased the chances of political conflict in the state, as the opposition is much greater in strength than before and Kuwait is the only Gulf State that gives the elected parliament powers to hold ministers accountable. So, though the top-most spots in the cabinet are still occupied by the senior members of the ruling family, their position can be threatened by the large strength of the opposition.
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