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KUWAIT CITY, Oct 17: The Cabinet, in its weekly meeting Monday, approved the decree to hold the National Assembly elections on Nov 26, 2016.

The decree will be forwarded to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for approval.

The Cabinet then called on all eligible voters to save the date and head to the designated areas to vote for their representatives in the Assembly.

The election is expected to see heated contests, mainly as many opposition groups have decided to participate after boycotting the previous two polls in protest against changing the voting system. Soon after the announcement of the Assembly’s dissolution, several candidates, including former MPs, discussed their intentions to contest the upcoming elections.

Former MP Safa Al-Hashem confirmed on her Twitter account that she will run in the next election from the Third Constituency. She said, “Relying on God Almighty, my family and my people with the trust of the people of the homeland; I will work hard. With my expertise and experience, I stand before you, full of confidence that you will support me in my bid to fix what has been destroyed. I am fully aware that the task is daunting but I am ready to face it with God’s support first and then you.”

Former MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan disclosed he will consult his constituents first before finalizing his decision. He said he is ready to serve his people and the country if he gets a green light from the constituents.

Moreover, an informed source revealed the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) held a series of meetings over the last few days to determine their candidates for the next election. The source expects six ICM candidates to participate

in the election and their names will be announced this weekend. In a related development, Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Yaqoub Al-Sanei, Communications Minister and State Minister for Municipality Affairs Issa Al Kandari, and Public Works Minister and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Ali Al-Omair submitted their resignations to His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah during the Cabinet meeting on Monday in preparation for the announcement of their plan to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Following these resignations, the Cabinet assigned additional duties to Commerce Minister Dr Yusuf Al-Ali who will also serve as State Minister for Municipality Affairs; Water and Electricity Minister Ahmed Al-Jassar to head the ministries of Awqaf and Public Works; State Minister for Housing Affairs Yaser Aboul as Minister of Communications; and State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah as Minister of Justice and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Meanwhile, former MP Hassan Jowhar believes the legislative dissolution in this environment may rescue many members of the dissolved Parliament and enable some of them to contest the next election especially against strong and veteran former MPs. He attributed the dissolution to the government’s way of handling the budget deficit; particularly the idea to lift subsidies on some commodities and services, while imposing fees and even taxes on citizens. He stressed that dissolving the Parliament when its legislative and constitutional term is about to end, in addition to calling for early elections that will include political blocs especially the opposition which is split and hesitant, might lead to formation of the opposition group in the next Parliament.

Furthermore, former Parliament Speaker Ahmad Sadoun pointed out that participation in the next elections should be understood through the current situation. He asserted it is wrong to think that one can obtain majority support to repeal laws like DNA testing and pre-trial because they did not amend the laws. He clarified that his decision to boycott the next elections is not a personal stand as it is based on a statement issued by the majority. He added, “If anybody thinks he can rectify the current situation, then he should.” He asserted the country is in this situation due to attempts to mess with composition of the Parliament by amending the Election Law, as evident in the government from the beginning when it questioned the law before the Constitutional Court, claiming that the law is unfair.

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb and Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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