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CANDIDATE TOTAL 251 FOR CRITICAL NOVEMBER RACE – Public funds, economy hot poll issues

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 23: Fifty- two parliamentary hopefuls, including two women filed their candidacies for the 2016 National Assembly elections on the fifth day of the registration period bringing the total number of candidates to 251. Following are the candidates who registered on Sunday per constituency:

■ First Constituency (four candidates) — Hamad Ahmed Rouheldeen, Khalid Fahad Nasser, Rashed Jaber Al-Nasafi and Huda Saeed Al- Awadhi

■ Second Constituency (seven candidates) — Ahmed Rashid Al-Dawas, Ahmed Yakoub Baqer Al-Abdullah, Riyadh Ahmed Al-Adsani, Abass Ali Abass, Faisal Abdullah Al-Ajmi, Mohammed Hussen Fairouz and Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanem

■ Third Constituency (six candidates) — Bashar Mohammed Kandari, Daud Suleiman Al-Omairi, Sena Ali Al-Osfour, Essa Mohammed Al-Ansari, Fawaz Jasem Al-Shaibani and Mohammed Abdulrazak Al-Sairafi

■ Fourth Constituency (17 candidates) — Anwar Hassan Jafar, Batel Mohammed Al-Rasheedi, Bader Tarrak Al-Shimiri, Bander Jasi Al-Mutairi, Thamer Musaid Al-Barrak, Khalid Abdul-Hayyi Al-Khadar, Khalid Marda Al-Anazi, Saud Saad Al-Mutairi, Saud Muslat Al-Adwani, Salah Mohammed Al-Harbi, Faleh Khalid Al-Anazi, Faraj ZaiAl-Arbeed, Fahad Ghasham Al-Basman, Mohammed Ayesh Al-Husseini, Mansour Faleh Al-Zufairi, Anwar Ali Al-Mutairi and Hadi Hajed Al-Watari

■ Fifth Constituency (18 candidates) — Ahmed Musaid Al-Anazi, Bader Mohammed Al-Azmi, Jaber Ahmed Al-Saad, Hussein Sabeel Al-Azmi, Hussein Fahad Al-Azmi, Hamoud Mohammed Al-Hamdan, Khalid Khalaf Al-Otaibi, Salem Bader Al-Sabai, Salem Hussein Al-Ajmi, Eid Shuraim Al-Otaibi, Ghanem Ali Al-Mai, Qais Musah Al-Shimiri, Mubarak Rashid Al-Nuwaiem, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Mohammed Muaikil Al- Ajmi, Mishal Mohammed Al-Faudari, Nader Shaihan Al-Otaibi and Naser AbdulMohsen Al-Miri

In his statement after filing his candidacy, former Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem expressed his happiness over what he calls as “democratic wedding and return to the polls.” He explained this is the best practice as the people will decide who among the candidates they trust to serve as their representatives.

He also stressed that the next stage will be full of security and economic challenges, asserting he looks forward to a higher level of electoral campaigning which should be within the framework of the Constitution. He added, “Returning to the polls is a step in the right direction and this will give a chance to a large number of those who boycotted the last elections and the final decision lies with the people.”

On the other hand, former MP Hammoud Al-Hamdan prayed to God Almighty that he succeeds in representing this country in a democratic atmosphere.

He emphasized the importance of addressing economic issues, especially those related to the oil sector, as well as the need to diversify sources of income. He added Kuwait is behind in credit rating worldwide and the government must pay attention to this matter.

Furthermore, former minister of Commerce and former MP Ahmed Baqer said he participated in five parliaments starting from 1985, in addition to his membership to previous governments. “Our goal is to protect public money and we must preserve our blessings. Unfortunately, there were changes in laws earlier and these changes prompted me to contest the elections,” he disclosed.

He underscored the important role that the legislature plays, while lauding the return of those who boycotted the previous elections. He said the SalafiBloc urged everyone to participate in the election even at the time some declined. “After their return, it was proven that our vision was right,” he stressed. About his government experience especially in the Ministry of Commerce, Baqer said he had good participation and contributions citing food ration. He was quick to add though that he will not participate in the government this time as he intends to focus on parliamentary work. He also highlighted the significance of the private sector and its role in generating jobs for citizens.

The National Assembly elections in Kuwait next month is expected to be a hot contest in the country’s history since 53 former lawmakers, including infl uential members of the opposition have filed their candidacy for the November 2016 polls, according to gulfnews web portal. After the first four days of registration, 32 members of the outgoing Parliament elected in 2013 have registered hoping to renew their membership. However, they will have to do with 12 MPs from the Parliament that was elected in 2012 and dissolved by the Constitutional Court and with nine lawmakers elected during other legislative terms.

In 2013, the so-called opposition had boycotted the elections to protest against the amendment of the 2006 Electoral Law which gave one-man one-vote instead of the four.

The government argued the amendment brought the voting process in line with international standards and the opposition claimed the move was to elect a compliant Parliament and took the case to the Constitutional Court. The court rejected the challenge and the elections were held while the opposition stayed away.

However, following the dissolution of the Parliament this month and the call for new elections on Nov 26 most opposition members have decided to end the boycott. Mohammad Hayef Al Mutairi, one of the contestants and former Islamist lawmaker, said “Our participation following the boycott is in response to the call of the public interests. “The opposition was alarmed by the failures of the Parliament and government. Our boycott was a special message at the time, and we now must focus on the present time. Our ambition is to motivate the voters and competent people to be involved in the elections.”

Osama Al Shaheen, another former MP, said that the reason for the boycott has ended. “There is no need to keep the boycott now, but I do respect whoever thinks otherwise,” he added. Another independent former MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said he was confident he and other Islamists would be elected next month. “We will return to the Parliament, and those who are unhappy about it will be crying,” he said. “As soon as we settle in, we will present a 10-point document that includes reinstating revoked citizenships, rejecting the horrible laws that had been passed and protecting the wallets of Kuwaiti citizens,” he added. The document will be adopted by the opposition lawmakers and by others who will most likely join the bloc, he said. “We expect that we will form a strong bloc comprising 25 lawmakers,” he added. Meanwhile, some say they expect one-third members of the dissolved Parliament will not be re-elected.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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