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Thursday , December 3 2020

Health, Interior link for poll safety – Registration starts

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 25: The ministries of Health and Interior are currently coordinating their efforts to lay down the precautionary and preventive measures to be implemented in the Election Affairs Administration as part of preparations for the latter to receive applications to contest the 2020 National Assembly elections, reports Al-Anba daily quoting reliable sources.

Sources affirmed this step was taken as the election is fast approaching – slated for Dec 5, 2020 – at a time the country is going through emergency health conditions due to the corona pandemic. Sources said the health plan will include all the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of corona among candidates and employees in the Election Affairs Administration, as well as to protect their health.

Director General of the General Department for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Colonel Salah Al-Shatti affirmed that the measures taken by the Ministry of Interior in cooperation with the Ministry of Health to receive those wishing to submit candidacy applications are aimed at enabling Kuwaiti citizens to exercise the right to run for elections as guaranteed by the Constitution, reports Al-Qabas daily.

In a press statement, he indicated that the Ministry of Interior’s procedures are in parallel to the opening to the doors for electoral nominations based on the ministry’s keenness to enable those who wish to have their constitutional right to run for seats in the National Assembly. Colonel Al-Shatti stressed that the possibility of depriving citizens of this right due to the health procedures is completely nonexistent, affirming the keenness of the ministry to ensure that those wishing to exercise their right to run for parliamentary seat can do so without any hindrance.

His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al- Sabah on Sunday called on citizens who intend to submit their candidacy for the upcoming elections to abide by precautions against the novel coronavirus. The prime minister, during inspection of the electoral commission headquarters in the district of Al-Shuwaikh, emphasized necessity of enforcing all necessary health measures during registration, affirming that the government doubled efforts to ensure safety of the employees and citizens registering their names as candidates for the forthcoming parliamentary polls.

Eligible citizens seeking nomination have been called upon to register their names at the set buildings for elections of the 16th legislative term of the National Assembly, due on Dec 5. Kuwait had held a series of such elections in the past. The coming polls would be held in the shadow of the coronavirus which have prompted authorities to enforce a chain of constraints; social distancing, wearing protective masks and abstention from gathering. His Highness the prime minister, during the visit, instructed the personnel at the electoral location to execute the set precautions as of tomorrow, when the 10-day registration for the nominees begins. He was accompanied during the building tour by the ministers of health, interior and justice.

MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari has addressed the ministries of Health and Interior, government, civil society organizations and Kuwaiti people. He asked the Ministry of Health to regularly check the ongoing preparations in schools, which will be used as voting centers in the upcoming National Assembly elections, in order to guarantee strict compliance with health regulations.

He stressed the need to increase the number of electoral committees and voting centers for the safety of the whole election process. He urged the ministry to launch a campaign to provide information and raise awareness of citizens about the proper attitude during elections. Meanwhile, the lawmaker warned the Interior Ministry about the possible manipulation of election results.

He said the ministry violated the relevant laws when it prevented those convicted of criminal offense from participating in the elections, argued that no penalty is eternal. He added the rehabilitated convicted offenders must be allowed to stand for elections according to the Elections Law. He appealed to the ministry to be fair in dealing with all candidates; indicating the new candidates have been prevented from establishing contact or communication with the voters, while the former and current MPs open their diwaniyas to the public and even hold symposiums with the ministry turning a blind eye to their acts. He also asked the ministry to combat the vote-buying phenomenon, adding that information about such violation is widely circulated.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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