Kuwaitis vote with hopes for reform

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KUWAIT CITY, June 5: Kuwaiti eligible voters are set to flow to polling stations nationwide tomorrow (Tuesday) in order to elect a new National Assembly (Parliament), pinning high hopes that the country’s aspired reforms and development would be notched up. As many as 793,646 eligible voters involving 386,751 males and 406,895 females are poised to pick 50 out of 207 candidates to represent them at the new legislature for a term of four years. Vote centers will open at 8:00 am local time (5:00 GMT) and close at 8:00 pm local time (5:00 GMT). Vote counting will begin immediately at polling places.

The fresh electoral race followed an order made in May to dissolve the former parliament “only out of respect for the people’s will and return to the nation, which is the source of all power and authority”. Another edict was then announced, calling on voters to stand prepared to cast their ballots in a new electoral process slated for June 6 (Tuesday).

Thirty-four male and female rivals are vying in the Fist Constituency, where there are a total of 99,779 eligible voters, including 48,348 males and 51,431 females. The Second Constituency has 45 male and female candidates contesting the race to win the votes of 90,394 people (44,289 males and 46,105 females). There are 34 hopefuls, both males and females, in the Third Constituency, which has 137,978 voters (66,226 males and 71,752 females. Forty-seven male and female candidates are competing for the votes of 208,740 people (100,832 males and 107,908 females) in the Fourth Constituency. The Fifth Constituency includes 47 rivals and 256,755 eligible voters (127,056 males and 129,699 females).

All ministries, authorities and state bodies have been working together for weeks in order to ensure the country’s electoral race by taking all required measures and putting all potential at the disposal of voters. The Ministry of Information, for its part, has invited 50 media representatives from all over the world to cover the parliamentary vote.

The Kuwaiti cabinet has recently asked several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to partake in watching the country’s forthcoming parliamentary elections due on June 6, only out of its commitment to ensuring fair and transparent elections. The Health Ministry affirmed that it was ready for the 2023 parliamentary elections on June 6, Tuesday, via providing 123 fully equipped clinics at polling stations with the participation of 740 medical staff in addition to 30 ambulances.

In a press statement, the ministry’s spokesperson Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad said that five medical clinics will operate at the main voting centers, while 118 clinics would be at the subcommittee’s headquarters. He noted that 30 ambulances were dispatched according to the flow of the voters in each constituency. Meanwhile, National Assembly Election number 35/1962 prohibits the circulation of election-related messages 48 hours before Election Day; but it does not stipulate penalties for whoever violates this stipulation, says constitutional expert Professor Muhammad Al-Fili.

According to Al-Fili some fake accounts on social media and other newspapers are taking a chance to violate the law, as they believe they are safe since there is no punishment for such a violation. Nevertheless, he affirmed that wellknown media institutions remain committed to the law in line with the Code of Conduct. The campaigns of the candidates ended on Sunday, including the public meeting organized by former Assembly Speaker and Second Constituency candidate Marzouq Al- Ghanim with the theme, ‘The way towards stability’.

During his campaign, Al-Ghanim stressed that he has always been committed to the Constitution and National Assembly Law. He said it is unacceptable to describe the previous era as the period of corruption, because this is tantamount to offending HH the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He pointed out that an era is not attributed to a prime minister or Assembly Speaker, as it is attributed to the head of State.

He also confirmed having evidence of a bank transfer made by a senior official at the office of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in favor of an individual who administers fake accounts on social media to curse some individuals while the latter is outside Kuwait. He was quick to clarify that he is sure the premier is not aware of such an incident. He added that the Internet service was disrupted during a parliamentary session when the number of attendees decreased from 40 to 10. He explained the reason was that some MPs monitored social media and decided to vote according to the trend, not their own opinion. He went on to say that in case he wins in the election slated for Tuesday, he will cooperate with the Prime Minister — either HH Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al Sabah or anyone else as part of his constitutional commitment. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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