Kuwait elections: 376 candidates seek votes for 50-seat parliament

Parliament speaker Marzouq Al Ghanim among seven politicians from dissolved parliament who will not take part in poll

Former MP Shuaib Al Muwaizri has registered to run in Kuwait's elections on September 29. AFP
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The 10-day registration period for Kuwaiti citizens who intend to stand in this month's parliamentary elections ended on Wednesday, with 376 candidates in the running — 349 men and 27 women.

Seven members of the recently dissolved parliament will not stand in the vote scheduled for September 29, including parliament speaker Marzouq Al Ghanim.

Kuwait’s fifth constituency reported the largest turnout of candidates, with 101 vying for 10 seats.

The country's electoral system involves a simple majority vote, with voters choosing one candidate in a district. The 10 candidates with the most ballots in each district are elected.

Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal announced the dissolution of parliament on behalf of the Emir Sheikh Nawaf in June and called for new elections after more than a year of infighting between the National Assembly and government.

The number of candidates vying for seats in the next parliament is lower than in the two previous elections – 395 in 2020 and 454 in 2016.

Voters are expected to turn out in strong numbers this month despite concerns about election fatigue, with the last vote taking place about two years ago.

“Observers are expecting voters to come out strongly during the elections this time around since the leadership’s decision to dissolve parliament came after efforts were made to raise the spirits of the nation by using the powers of the constitution," writer Najem Al Shammeri told Kuwaiti television.

There are also hopes that more women will be elected to parliament this time, after lone female MP Safa Al Hashem lost her seat in the 2020 vote.

Kuwaitis voted to replace 31 MPs in 2020, electing 22 who had never served in parliament before.

A record 28 female candidates were in the running for the assembly, but none were successful.

Moudhi Al Mutairi is among 27 women who filed nomination papers this time. She is competing for a seat in the fifth constituency.

“I call on my fellow candidates to organise a public debate since there are so many of us vying for just 10 seats,” she said.

"The voters need to hear from us and not be distracted from the fancy old slogans that so many have been campaigning on for the past several years."

The previous government, under former prime minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah, faced several months of political feuding and tension with parliament.

Several members of the Cabinet, including the ministers of defence and foreign affairs, survived no-confidence votes in parliament.

Sheikh Nawaf and Sheikh Meshal issued a warning that “there are dangers and crises surrounding the country from every side” after parliament was dissolved.

Updated: September 08, 2022, 9:08 AM