Foreign observers to help monitor Kuwait elections

December 26, 2011

Foreign observers will be allowed to monitor the elections in Kuwait, the head of the Kuwait Transparency Society has reportedly said.

“We have presented a request to have local and foreign observers for the elections and the Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad has approved it,” Salah Al Ghazali said. “The Emir was supportive of the society in its monitoring role,” he said, quoted byAl Seyassah newspaper.

The activist warned against vote buying ahead of the polls on February 2 and said that the society had provided the interior ministry with the names and numbers of people who traded in votes.

“I urge the authorities to ambush them so that they are arrested red-handed,” he said.

Some wealthy candidates pay thousands of dinars to ensure votes in a phenomenon that the authorities are reportedly fighting.

Activists say that more should be done to ensure that local or international political money does not influence the outcome of the elections.

The number of candidates for the parliament has risen to 189 after four days in the registration process.

According to election officials, 24 more hopefuls signed up on Saturday in the five constituencies where around 400,000 Kuwaitis will cast their ballots to choose the 50 members of their new parliament.

Three women were among the 24 who signed up to run for the much-coveted seats, taking their number to 11.

Women were given the right to run in 2005, but made it to the parliament only in 2009 when four women succeeded in carrying seats despite staunch opposition from conservatives.

In statements to the media as they signed up their names, most candidates said that they would, if elected, work on ensuring political, economic and social stability amid the numerous uncertainties that hit the nation in 2011.

“There are people attempting to undermine the stability of the ruling family and the nation,” Khalaf Dumaifar, a former lawmaker, said. However, he did not provide details.

Mubarak Al Alwan, an ex-MP, said that he would run as an independent candidate.

“The parliament had a problem with the lawmakers who supported the government in the past,” he said. “If they are re-elected, we will face more problems and issues,” he said, quoted by Al Seyassah.



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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