Six women among 109 Kuwait parliament candidates as registration starts

December 22, 2011

Six women were among the 109 candidates who submitted their papers to run in Kuwait’s parliamentary elections on the first day of the application process.

Under the country’s elections laws, parliament hopefuls have ten days to sign up their names for the elections in which around 400,000 eligible voters will cast their ballots on February 2.

The six women registered in three of the country’s five constituencies as women’s rights activists have expressed hope that the record of four women in the outgoing parliament will be improved.

In the last elections in 2009, five women among 108 candidates submitted their papers to run in the elections.


“My top priority will be to implement the economic reforms stated in the development plan and to ensure the application of law for all people,” former MP Rola Dashti said as she registered her name.

For former MP Maasouma Al Mubarak, the full sovereignty of the state of law and institutions will figure high on her agenda.

“I urge everyone to move away from the umbrella of the tribe or the sect and to reinforce the sense of belonging to the nation,” she said, referring to the tradition by some tribes to choose and support their candidates to the parliament by holding their own preliminary elections despite a strict ban on the practice by the state.

Women were given the right to vote and run in parliamentary elections in May 2005 following aggressive campaigns and a bitter standoff with conservatives who have staunchly rejected the idea.

Women vote in 2006 for first time

 In June 2006, women cast their ballots for the first time in a landmark election of a new parliament. Amid the 253 candidates, 28 were women. but none won. In 2009, women carried four seats.

On the first day of the registration, 14 candidates who had previously served in the parliament signed up. Kuwait’s national assembly, the oldest in the region, has 50 members.

Ahmad Al Saadoun, who was Speaker from 1985 to 1999, told reporters as he was registering his name that it was too early to talk about going back to the position.

“This is not the time to talk about the position. We have to go through the elections first and then the members of the parliament will decide who should be the speaker,” said Al Saadoun who was first elected in 1975.

Sources in Kuwait said that they expected that the parliament will be renewed by up to 50 per cent.

Several former lawmakers had been reportedly embroiled in a financial scandal after reports that huge amounts of money had been deposited in their bank accounts to influence their voting in the parliament.

Suspected illegal financial operations

The public prosecutor has summoned 13 ex-MPs whose bank accounts had been reported by their banks on suspicion of illegal financial operations. However, they all denied the charges and were released on bail.

Nine other MPs, all from the opposition, have been called in by the public prosecution on charges of storming the parliament building last month to put further pressure on the then prime minister Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad to resign.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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