Calls to activate monitoring role prior to elections
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 23: The Third Constituency has always been described as a ‘Mini Kuwait’, as it is the Constituency that represents all the components of the Kuwaiti society. It includes “tribal and urban areas, Sunnis and Shiites.” Not only that, but the political blocs and currents in it vary from the far right to the far left.
This is not the only description for this Constituency, as there are other descriptions, including the ‘Bone-Breaking Battleground’, the Whale’ and ‘Al-Hawamir’ as well as the Constituency of the ‘intellectuals’ in view of the ideological struggle that it witnessed in more than one ballot between representatives of political and intellectual currents and until a number of prominent intellectuals won the honor to represent it in the Parliament, among them was Sami Al-Munayes, Dr Ahmed Al-Rubei and Abdullah Al-Nafisi.
In the upcoming elections for the 2020 Parliament, however, the picture looks gloomy and ambiguous, as the constituency that is believed to have lost much of its distinctive political character, especially in light of ‘some talk’ about votebuying, 85 candidates are competing for the ten seats, including 74 men and 11 women, as 101,492 voters, including 47,228 males, and 54,264 women make a beeline to the polling booth in the Constituency which in 2016 saw 86,247 people casting their ballots which means a huge increase in the voter count of about 15,245 compared to 2016. The Constituency includes 15 districts – Keifan, Rawdah, Adailiya, Jabriya, Surrah, Khaldiya, Qortuba, Yarmouk, Abraq Khaitan, New Khaitan, Al Salam, Hitteen, Al Shuhada, Zahra and Al Siddiq.
The Constituency occupies the third place in the voter census compared to other constituencies and its composition is a mixture of the components of society – as has already been indicated – as it includes tribal, Shiite, Sunni and urban formations – and the weight of the religious trend represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi Islamist grouping cannot be overlooked, as it is the stronghold of the Islah Association.
It also hosts the headquarters of the Society for the Revival of Islamic Heritage in the Qortuba region. A member of the Kuwait Transparency Society, an observer at the 2020 elections, and a member of the National Commission for Democracy, Salem Hamoud, expects 70 percent in the Constituency. It is likely that two candidates from the Athban tribe will win. Being the largest tribal bloc in the constituency, one of them is a member of the 2016 Parliament and the other may be a new candidate. As for the Shiite bloc, it may succeed in grabbing more than one seat, and the same is the case with the merchants.
Hamoud said: The Third Constituency witnesses buying votes in multiple ways and indicated a number of candidates were caught bribing the voters. For his part, political activist Dr Salah Bursli says: The Third Constituency was previously a stronghold of opposition MPs, but unfortunately now it has become one of the constituencies in which a lot votes are bought, although this does not deny that a majority of the constituency members categorically refuse to sell votes, and in every district there is an honest and honorable person, but there are those who accept to sell their votes, and this trend exists even in the most ancient democracies of the world. Dr Bursli indicated unlike at other times the 2020 election has save a lot of energy and money for the candidates in the absence of seminars and the money will enable some of them to buy votes.
Dr Bursli expects a 40 percent, expressing his belief that the Brotherhood will win a seat, and the same applies to the predecessors, as well as to one or more candidates from the Ajman tribe, and a candidate from the merchants’ community and one or more Shiites to win. He warned that the Shiite bloc in the Constituency constitutes at least 15% of the total electorate, while the tribal bloc comes to constitute at least 14% of the total votes, and the Athban tribe comes first in this district, in terms of the number of tribal votes, followed by the Mutair tribe which is in second place, then Anza in third place, and Al Ajman in fourth place, then Rashaida in fifth place, and add to this the Al- Awazem, Shammar, Al-Hawajir and Al-Dhafeer tribes, which enjoy weight in other departments.
Meanwhile, the vote-buying phenomenon which has increased in intensity, especially in the Third Constituency, with the Dec 5 voting day just around the corner, something extraordinary has been happening in the elections arena that will affect the voting pattern as a result of which the principle of equality and equal opportunities seems to have vanished in thin air. The charity societies, other committees, preachers and imams of mosques have thrown their support behind some candidates to increase their chances of winning the seat in the National Assembly at a time when observers cry ‘foul play’ calling it extremely dangerous which will have threatening and unfortunate consequences.
In this regard, one of the contestants from the First Constituency, former MP Dr Abdullah Al-Tariji, accused one of the preachers urging citizens who benefit from the support of the charity institution to vote for a specific candidate in his district. In a statement to Al-Seyassah daily, Al-Tariji did not rule out the interference of sheikhs and charity societies in elections and called on HH the Prime Minister to personally follow up such infringements. He also called on the minister of interior to keep a check on the activities of charities during the elections. He explained some of the preachers exploit the platforms in one way or another to promote certain candidates, describing this behavior as ‘a blatant interference’ which is no less hideous than the interference of political money.
By Najeh Bilal and Raed Yousef Al-Seyassah Staff