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Shi'ite Minority Loses Some Seats in Kuwait Election

Officials in Kuwait have released results from Saturday's parliamentary elections showing that the Shi'ite minority lost more than half their seats, while liberals made slight gains.

The final results, released early Sunday, showed the Shi'ite candidates winning just eight seats in the 50-member parliament, compared to the 17 they held since last December's election.

The election was the second in eight months, called to replace the legislative body elected in December after a court ruled in June that the earlier ballot was flawed.

The mainly Islamist and populist opposition boycotted the poll after Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, reduced the number of votes each citizen could cast in parliamentary elections from four to one.

Opposition groups said this favors supporters of the Western-backed emir and would prevent the opposition from gaining a parliamentary majority.

Supporters say the measure is designed to prevent political stalemates.

The political system in oil-rich Kuwait is the most open in the Gulf but the ruling al-Sabah family controls all key government posts.

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