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Kuwaitis head to the polls - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Kuwaitis line up to vote in the parliamentary elections, in Kuwait City, Kuwait, 27 July 2013. (EPA/Raed Qutena)

Kuwaitis line up to vote in the parliamentary elections, in Kuwait City, Kuwait, 27 July 2013. (EPA/Raed Qutena)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Kuwaiti voters headed to the polls on Saturday for the second parliamentary elections to be held in eight months.

The parliamentary elections are being held after a constitutional court ruling in June invalidated the last vote in December over a technical issue.

The opposition is boycotting Kuwait’s sixth election in seven years following a change in voter rules that they claim unfairly favor pro-government candidates.

Opposition politicians had refused to take their seats in parliament following the December 2012 election in protest against the new voting rules.

In previous elections, Kuwaitis could vote for a maximum of four parliamentary candidates for the 50-seat parliament. Under the amended rules, Kuwait follows a one-man one-vote system.

According to AFP, more than 300 candidates will contest the elections for 50 parliamentary seats, with only a handful of opposition members agreeing to run. In addition to this, only eight female candidates have sought nomination, the lowest number of female candidates since women won political rights in 2005.

These are the 6th elections featuring the participation of women in Kuwait.

Officials said that 439,715 men and women are eligible to vote for the 309 candidates vying for parliamentary seats. According to the state news agency, 206,096 men (48.87 percent) and 233,618 women (53.13 percent) are eligible to vote.

A low voter turnout is expected, given the fact that the elections are taking place in searing heat during the holy month of Ramadan. The vote also comes at the end of a lackluster electoral campaign.

However, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported that ballot stations “have witnessed noticeable turn-up of voters since they opened at 8 a.m.”

Kuwait media also reported that there were long queues outside ballot stations early Saturday morning.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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