Tuesday , October 24 2017

Decision day as Kuwaitis head to polls – Up to 500,000 expected to cast ballots

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 25: Nearly 500,000 of the Kuwaiti electorate are expected to vote in the 2016 parliamentary elections on Saturday, Nov 26. The voting process will start at 8:00 am and end at 8:00 pm after which the counting of votes will begin. About 300 candidates are vying for 50 seats in the Parliament.

The total number of eligible voters in the upcoming elections is 483,186 of which 230,430 are men and 252,756 are women. This indicates that the number of eligible female voters is higher than their male counterparts.

The electoral process will be conducted in accordance with five constituencies and ‘one-person one-vote’ system. A candidate will be elected by voters from his or her designated constituency. The following are details of the fives constituency, the areas they cover and the number of voters from each constituency:-

■ First Constituency Voters — Men: 36,983; Women: 41,660; Total: 78,643 Areas — Sharq, Dasma, Matba, Dasman, Bneid Al-Gar, Da’iya, Shaab, Failaka and rest of the islands, Hawally, Al-Nugra, Maidan Hawally, Bayan, Mishref, Salmiya, Bedi, Al-Ras, Salwa, Rumaithiya, Mubarak Al- Abdullah Al-Jaber Area.

■ Second Constituency Voters — Men: 26,350; Women: 29,026; Total: 55376 Areas — Mirqab, Abdullah Al-Salem Area, Qibla, Shuwaikh, Shamiya, Qadsiya, Al-Mansouriya, Faiha, Nuzha, Sulaibikhat, Doha, Garnata and Qairawan.

■ Third Constituency Voters — Men: 39,675; Women: 46,572; Total: 86,247 Areas — Keifan, Rawda, Adaliya, Jabriya, Surra, Khaldiya, Qortuba, Yarmouk, Abraq Khaitan, Khaitan Al-Jadeed, Al-Salaam, Al-Sadiq, Hiteen, Shuhada and Zahra.

■ Fourth Constituency Voters — Men: 59,494; Women: 67,914; Total: 127,408 Areas — Farwaniya, Firdous, Omariya, Rabya, Riggae, Andalous, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Sabah Al-Nasser, Shaddadiya, Saihed Al-Awazen, Adailiya, Rehab, Ardiya, Ishbiliya, Abdullah Al-Mubarak, Jahra Al-Jadeed, Jahra, Sulaibiya, and Saad Al-Abdullah.

■ Fifth Constituency Voters — Men: 67,928; Women: 67,584; Total: 135,512 Areas — Ahmadi, Hadiya, Fintas, Mahboula, Abu Halifa, Sabah Al-Salem, Riqqa, Sabahiya, Zhahar, Egaila, Qurain, Adan, Qosur, Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Fahad Al-Ahmed, Jaber Al-Ali, Fahaheel, Mangaf, Ali Sabah Al-Salem, Al-Zour and Wafra.

Meanwhile, the Third Constituency candidate Safa Al- Hashim blamed the government for failing to collect dues worth more than KD 1 billion from consumers, lamenting that the government instead had the guts to increase the prices of gasoline, water and electricity.

She added that the Minister of Commerce and Industry had also issued the decision to cancel oversight. Speaking in a seminar, Al-Hashim said the economic reform document is an expression derived from the fiveyear plan but government chose to go straight to the pockets of the citizens and ignored other items and conditions in the document amid the silence of MPs at that time.

She stressed that the overseas medical treatments have cost the state billions of dinars but no action has been taken so far by the Parliament or the government to address this issue, indicating that the same happened with the issue of expired medicines.

Al-Hashim said the health insurance system for retirees turned out to be unhelpful because it does not cover many diseases that the retirees suffer from and it also does not cover health care or medical equipment. She went on to say that the law related to small enterprises, for which billion dinars were allocated for almost three years, had not been properly activated “although I had personally supervised the law for helping young people realize the dreams that they have been waiting for many years to achieve”.

Furthermore, the First Constituency candidate, former MP and former minister of Education Ahmed Al-Mulaifi stressed that the unemployment issue is one of the biggest problems affecting the Kuwaiti society. He indicated that huge oil contracts were signed which need more than 10,000 employees but the government has chosen to remain passive instead of quickly employing Kuwaiti youths, which makes things difficult for people and forces them to opt for the so-called “service MPs” that cannot produce a good Parliament.

Al-Mulaifi assured that he will oppose any increase in prices that would affect people’s lives because traders will never be hurt by increasing each bill of the consumers, but the citizens are the only victim.

Arrangements
The Information Ministry has completed all arrangements to cover the National Assembly (Parliament) elections, a senior official has stressed. The major aim is to provide full coverage of the democratic event, delivering an elevated media message, the Information Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for News and Political Programs Mohammad Bader bin Naji said in a press statement on Friday. Bin Naji who is also deputy chief of the committee on the preparation for the media coverage of the elections, added that they also aim to put the Kuwaitis, at home and overseas, ‘at the heart of the event’ with live TV and radio broadcast, and also via the e-media, from the state’s five constituencies. As a part of the efforts to present a distinct media coverage, the ministry has updated the TV direct transmission on its website, www.media.gov.kw, and the news website, www.news.gov.kw, he noted.

In addition, the ministry has updated its direct TV application on smart phones so that users can follow the elections moment-by-moment. This is also available on the ministry’s official accounts on social networking, he said.

The ministry’s strategy for the coverage of the parliamentary elections has been set to consolidate values of national loyalty and belonging, holding the nation’s interests over and above all other considerations, he stressed. A media campaign themed ‘My vote for the nation’ has been launched and specialized teams have been formed to promote the event, he said. The Ministry of Information’s preparations for the major political and democratic event are not confined to the polling day, but actually they started since the former assembly was dissolved by an Amiri Decree earlier in October, he said. This has been conducted through a comprehensive plan shedding light on the importance of popular participation in the elections, in cooperation with the relevant government bodies.

The plan has sought to highlight the democratic life in Kuwait, highly appreciated worldwide, he stated. Saturday will be a ‘Kuwaiti media day par excellence’ to reiterate the capability of the country’s media to respond to national occasions, with full professionalism, and high skills, bin Naji said. He promised TV viewers, and radio listeners a direct detailed non-stop coverage of the elections through the day. Bin Naji said that studios at the media complex are connected with the ones at the five constituencies. Also, all the polling stations have been provided with adequate tools of direct broadcast.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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