Kuwaiti Voters Demand More Freedom: Election Results Reflect Democratic Aspirations

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KUWAIT CITY, June 6: The National Assembly’s elections usually represent Kuwait’s continuous stride to promote more freedom and democracy in the country. With the kick-starting of the 2023 parliamentary elections today, Kuwaitis are looking forward to bolster the country’s democratic heritage. Prior to the National Assembly and during the early history of the country, Kuwait’s Diwaniyas (gathering halls) were the nucleus in which the first seeds of democracy were planted Council The proto-parliament, the Shura (consultative) council was first established in Kuwait in 1921 and it consisted of 12 members tasked with aiding the ruler of Kuwait, the Amir, to run the country.

Women turned out to vote in large numbers and Voters waiting to enter the hall

The parliament experience in its modern sense with people choosing their representatives began with the establishment of the Municipal Council in 1930 when Kuwaitis choose 11 members and the council’s head. This was followed by the elections of the departments for media, health, and endowment (Awqaf). In 1938 and during the era of late Amir Sheikh Ahmad Jaber Al-Sabah, a council aiding in the matters of governance was elected with the inclusion of 14 elected members out of 20. Sheikh Abdullah Al- Salem Al-Sabah was chosen as the head of the council.

After transitioning to a constitutional state, the late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah signed a decree in August 26, 1961, which stated that elections for the Constitutional Assembly would be held on December 30, 1961 to choose 20 members in addition to 11 ministers.

The Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah presided over the first session of the Constitutional Assembly on January 20, 1962. The assembly was tasked with the most important mission in the history of the country and that was writing the constitution of Kuwait.

The elections for the very first National Assembly was held on January 23, 1963 after the independence of Kuwait with 250 candidates running to be included in the 50-seats parliament. Eligible voters amounted to 16,889 covering 10 constituencies.

The inaugural session was held on January 29 the same year. Elections for the second legislative term of parliament was held on January 25, 1967 with 220 candidates involved from 10 constituencies and 27,296 eligible voters casting their ballot. The first session of parliament was held on February 70, 1967 and the term concluded on December 30, 1970.

On January 23, 1971, the elections for the third legislative term began with 180 candidates running and 40,649 voters partaking in the elections in 10 constituencies. The first session of the term was held on February 10, 1971 and the term concluded on January 8, 1975.

The fourth legislative term elections was held on January 27, 1975 with 256 hopefuls running and 52,994 voters casting their ballot in 10 constituencies. First session of parliament in that term was held on February 11, 1975, but the parliament was dissolved on August 29, 1976.

On February 23, 1981, the election for the fifth legislative term was held with the participation of 42,008 eligible voters choosing from 447 candidates representing 25 constituencies. The first session of parliament for the term was held on March 9, 1981.

The parliament was dissolved before finishing the term on January 19, 1985. On February 20, 1985, the election for the sixth legislative term was held with the participation of 56,845 eligible voters choosing from 231 candidates representing 25 constituencies. The first session of parliament for the term was held on March 9, 1985.

The parliament was dissolved before finishing the term on July 3, 1986. On April 22, 1990, the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah signed an Amiri order to establish the national council and on June 10, 1990, election was held to choose the members of the council involving 62,123 eligible voters in 25 constituencies. On June 28, 1990, an Amiri order was issued assigning 25 members of the national council. The first legislative term of the national council ended with the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait on August 2, 1990.

The second legislative term of the council began on July 9, 1991, but in August 1, 1992, a decree was issued to end the term and the session of the national council. On October 5, 1992, the elections for seventh legislative term for the National Assembly began with the participation of 278 candidates and the 81,440 eligible voters from 25 constituencies. The first session of the term was held on October 20, 1992 and the term concluded with a session on October 5, 1996. On October 7, 1996, the election for the eight legislative term began with 230 candidates running and 107,169 voting casting ballot in 25 constituencies.

The first session of the term was held on October 20, 1996, but parliament was dissolved on May 4, 1999. On July 3, 1999, some 288 candidates and 112,882 eligible voters were involved in the ninth legislative term elections held in 25 constituencies. The first session of the term was held on July 17, 1999 and the term concluded with a session on May 21, 2003. Some 264 candidates and 136,715 voters took part in the elections for the 10th legislative term of parliament held in the country’s 25 constituencies On July 5, 2003.

The first session of the term was held on July 19, 2003, but the term did not finish its allocated period and dissolved on May 21, 2006. The 11th legislative term of parliament had an election involving 288 candidates and 327,287 eligible voters. It was held on June 29, 2006 in 25 constituencies. The first session was held on July 12, 2006, but the parliament did not finish the term, dissolving on March 19, 2008.

On July 17, 2008, the elections for the 12th legislative term of parliament had 275 candidates running with 361,684 eligible voters from five constituencies. The first session was held on June 1, 2008. The term was dissolved on March 18, 2009. The 13th legislative term’s elections were held on May 16, 2009 with 210 candidates running and 384,790 candidates from five constituencies. The first session of the term was held on May 31, 2009 and the parliament was dissolved on December 6, 2011. Parliament The 14th legislative term’s election was held on July 27, 2013. Some 321 candidates ran for parliament with 439,715 voters casting their ballot in five constituencies.

The first session of the term was held on August 6, 2013, but the term was dissolved on October 16, 2016. Elections for the 15th legislative term began on November 26, 2016 with 293 candidates partaking on the race and 483,186 voting casting their ballots in five constituencies. The first session of the term began on December 23, 2016, and the final session was concluded on October 20, 2020.

The elections for the 16th legislative term of parliament began on December 5, 2020, with 326 candidates running and 567,694 eligible voters covering five constituencies. The first session was held on December 15, 2020, but the parliament did not finish the term, dissolving on August 2, 2022. On September 29, 2022, elections for the 17th legislative term was held with the participation of 305 candidates and 795,911 eligible voters in Kuwait’s five constituencies. On March 19, 2023, the Kuwaiti constitutional court released a verdit annuling the 2022 formation of parliament and returning the 2020 iteration. On May 1, 2023, a decree was issued to dissolve the 2020 National Assembly. (KUNA)

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