Al-Mulla, Al-Kandari win, ICM, Salafi lose – Turnout low
KUWAIT CITY, March 16: Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) and the Salafists lost woefully in the supplementary elections of the National Assembly held on Saturday, March 15, 2019 in a bid to occupy seats left vacant by former MPs Jama’an Al-Harbash and Waleed Al-Tabtabaei. Only 42 percent of eligible voters took part in the elections.
In the second constituency, according the preliminary results, ‘dark horse’ Bader Al-Mulla carried the day by snatching victory from the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) candidate Dr Hamad Al-Matar, and the preliminary results in the third constituency indicated Abdullah Al-Kandari claimed the first position followed by Salafiex-MP Amal Al-Ajmi and Hisham Al-Saleh, while Muhalhil came fourth. Outcome of the elections shows the alliance and coordination formed by the Brotherhood and Salafists could not yield the desired result.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah, meanwhile, congratulated Kuwaiti nationals, men and women alike, on the success of National Assembly by-elections for the second and third constituencies. He praised the cooperation and coordination undertaken by numerous public bodies behind the endeavour, which helped facilitate the voting process.
The Supreme Judicial Committee tasked with overseeing the matter, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Fire Department were singled out for this praise. Polling stations of by-elections closed at 8:00 pm Saturday, local time, giving way to the start of the vote count. Eighteen candidates, including a female, vied to fill the vacancy of the second constituency, which has 62,547 eligible voters, while 29 hopefuls vied for the 96,528 votes in the third constituency.
Since the start of voting at 8:00 am several senior state officials made inspection tours of the polling stations to make sure that the electoral process is ruly and smooth. National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim praised on Saturday the byelection, which kicked off, and described it as a “democratic festival”.
In a statement to reporters after casting his vote at the Second Constituency, Al-Ghanim praised the orderliness of the process, saying it complemented the democratic festival in Kuwait perfectly. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Lt-Gen (Rtd) Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah said, during a similar tour, that the by-elections refl ects the democracy enjoyed by Kuwait and the coherence of the country’s social texture.
Minister of Justice and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Dr Fahad Al-Afasi affirmed that polling went on smoothly and orderly at all stations without any hitches. MPs Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Dr Jam’an Al-Harbash lost their seats on Dec 19, 2018, after the constitutional court ruled against the constitutionality of Article 16 of the internal statutes of the National Assembly. Although the voter turnout was average during the early hours, the pace picked up in the afternoon; especially among the women who constitute the majority in both constituencies.
By Ahmed Al Naqeeb Arab Times Staff and Agencies