Today Kuwaitis head to ballot centres to elect new MPs
KUWAIT: Kuwaiti voters head to polling stations today to elect 50 MPs for the 14th legislative session of the National Assembly, marking the second implementation of the one-person, one-vote electoral system. Each of the 439,715 eligible voters will be electing one candidate out of hundreds of hopefuls in the five constituencies in Kuwait, each to produce 10 members of parliament. The number of male voters are 206,096, or 46.87 percent of total voters, while females represent 53.12 percent of voters or 233,619.
This is the 6th elections featuring the participation of women in Kuwait. Eight female candidates are running in July 27 elections. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah issued a decree on June 26 calling for today’s elections, after the Constitutional Court annulled the parliament that was elected last December.
The first elections in Kuwait were held in 1963, the first step in the constitutional march of democracy in Kuwait. The January 23 1963 elections were held after the constitution of Kuwait was enacted on November 11 1962. Up to 205 candidates, distributed over 10 constituencies, ran for the 50-seat house. On December 16 1980, an Amiri decree was issued to increase onstituencies to 25, each represented by two MPs. Article 80 of the constitution and Article One of the parliament’s bylaw states that the National Assembly’s 50 MPs are elected in secret balloting.
Ministers, whose number should not exceed 16, are not considered members in the parliament. Article 83 of the constitution and Article Three of the bylaw of the parliament state that National Assembly term is four years. The legislative authority is mandated with issuing draft laws and draft decrees, inquiring about all issues from ministers, questioning the prime minister and ministers, as well as solving complaints of citizens.
The parliament members also discuss and approve the state’s general budget and final accounts. The Amir of Kuwait has the right to dissolve the parliament with the clarification of justifications. The same house cannot be dissolved twice for the same reasons. Elections should be held within 60 days of the dissolution date. Balloting, monitored by the judicial authority, are held between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm in electoral committees distributed in the five constituencies.
The ministry of interior had announced there would be 457 electoral committees distributed over 100 schools for tomorrow’s elections. The Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) declared it would open a special bureau for issuance of temporary identification papers (to whom it may concern) at its headquarters in South Surra Saturday, when balloting for parliamentary polls is due.The interior ministry will deploy 750 forces and 325 patrols to secure the balloting process. The ministry also said it prepared 10 media centers in all five constituencies for both males and females, in order to facilitate work for journalists covering the elections.