News / Middle East

Kuwait Sets Sixth Parliamentary Election in Seven Years

A general view of the Kuwait Palace of Justice (court house) in Kuwait City, June 16, 2013.
A general view of the Kuwait Palace of Justice (court house) in Kuwait City, June 16, 2013.
Reuters
— Kuwait will hold its sixth parliamentary election in seven years on July 25, a snap vote ordered by its top court after the current assembly was dissolved earlier this week in another sign of political turmoil in the Gulf Arab state.

Almost constant factional infighting and disarray has stalled infrastructure development and held up economic reforms in Kuwait, an important oil producer and U.S. ally.

On Sunday opposition supporters lost a legal fight to undo changes to the voting system they said favor pro-government candidates - a dispute which aggravated political tensions.

The Constitutional Court however found fault in the process leading up to the last elections in December and ordered a new ballot for the 50-member assembly.

“At an extraordinary meeting held today, the cabinet approved a draft decree inviting voters to elect members of the National Assembly on July 25,” the state news agency KUNA quoted Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheik Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah as saying on Thursday.

The date falls during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Kuwait's parliament gives its people greater say than in other tightly-controlled Gulf Arab monarchies, although the ruling emir still has the final word in state matters and members of his Al-Sabah family occupy top posts.

Opposition politicians boycotted the last election in December in protest at changes to the voting system decreed by Emir Sheik Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah six weeks beforehand.

They said the changes made it more difficult to form alliances in a country that bans political parties. The government says the new rules brought Kuwait's system in line with voting systems used elsewhere in the world.

Under the old system, voters were allowed to cast ballots for up to four candidates, which the opposition said allowed alliances that partly made up for the absence of political parties. The new voting system allows votes for only a single candidate, which the opposition says makes alliances difficult.

The 84-year-old emir, who has ruled Kuwait since 2006, said the changes were aimed at ensuring security and stability after policymaking stalled in the previous opposition-dominated parliament.

He has urged Kuwaitis to put the debate over the voting rules behind them and participate in the upcoming election.

Sheik Sabah's move to change the voting system last year touched off some of the largest protests in Kuwaiti history and the December poll had the lowest voter turnout since the first election held in 1963.

Prominent Islamist and populist opposition politicians have said they will not stand in any future election under the one-vote system but some liberals and Salafi Islamists have said they will compete, splitting the opposition.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid