Low turnout in Kuwait Municipal by-elections

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KUWAIT CITY, May 18: In the early morning hours on Saturday, teams affiliated with the authorities in charge of the 2024 supplementary election of the Municipal Council like the ministries of Interior, Municipality, Justice and Information prepared to receive voters in the sixth district, which has 77 main and sub committees distributed in Khaitan, Farwaniya, Firdous, Zahraa, Siddiq, Salaam and Shuhada. Ten nominees are contesting for the vacant seat in the sixth constituency and eight for the seat in the 9th district.

The electoral committees designated for males and females witnessed a remarkably low turnout, which the judges supervising and those responsible for the committees agreed was expected and usual in council elections in general, and the supplementary ones in particular. They cited other factors that led to the low turnout like the temperature that has begun to rise, Saturday as the date of the election which is a day of rest.

They pointed out that the number of voters is usually low on such a day, even for the parliamentary elections. In exclusive statements to the daily, a number of judges participating in the election asserted that electoral participation rate is likely to range from 15 to 20 percent out of the 79,754 voters in the district — 38,371 males and 41,483 females.

They expected a higher turnout of male voters compared to female voters. In the same context head of the electoral committee no. 1 in the sixth district in Abraq Khaitan Girls’ Secondary School Judge Haitham Al-Manea disclosed that the number of voters who cast their votes until 2:00 pm was 21 out of 778 registered in the committee while the number of women who cast their votes in the main committee was also 21 and five at Khaitan Middle School for Girls, only nine out of 1041 registered in the electoral list. He affirmed it is normal for voters turnout to be low in supplementary elections for the council, but not the National Assembly.

They praised the efforts of the parties assisting in the election from the Ministry of Interior, Justice, Information, and the Municipality. Head of the main committee of female voters in Farwaniya Secondary School for Girls Judge Fawaz Abu Salib said they recorded only seven votes out of 664 registered in the electoral list, describing the turnout as very low. He stressed the readiness of the committees and the rapid response of those in charge of them — the teams from the Interior, Justice and Municipality ministries. He stated that the voting process was smooth as it was done in a period not exceeding five minutes. Head of main committee no. 67 in Maria Al-Qibtiyya Secondary School in the Al-Zahraa suburb Judge Fawzan Al-Anjari confirmed that the turnout in all the main and sub-committees is very low. The number of people who cast their votes in each committee did not exceed seven, including one vote in the main committee out of 996 registered voters and 11 votes in the female sub-committee No. 11 in the Siddiq suburb.

In addition, the ninth district also witnessed a low turnout of voters in most polling stations in the early morning hours, while a number of candidates confirmed the implementation of their electoral promises. Eight candidates competed in the ninth district where the number of eligible voters totaled 135,683 — 66,804 males and 68,879 females. The ninth district consists of 22 areas with Sabah Al- Salem, Riqqa, and Sabah Al-Ahmad having the most number of voters. The district’s electoral scene was dominated by the small presence of voters in the polling stations for males; while some female polling stations were empty until the noon hours, and some polling stations had about five percent of voters until the afternoon. The presence of the elderly was noted, some of whom came in wheelchairs in order to participate in the election.

They urged the council to address the problems of the people, such as poor sanitation in residential areas and others. A number of judges stressed to the daily that the electoral process went smoothly and without any obstacle, praising the cooperation of all voters and Interior Ministry personnel who were keen to provide the best services and facilities to citizens. The daily’s staff toured a number of areas in the district, including Sabah Al-Salem and Hadiya, where voters turnout in the first hours of voting was low, amid expectations of increased participation after the afternoon prayer. On the other hand, the Women’s Committee in Dhahar also witnessed low number of voters.

Two hours after the opening of the polling stations, women’s participation appeared low. Head of the main committee at Fatima Al-Haqqan Primary School Judge Asaad Al-Omar disclosed that the committee received only one female voter since the start of voting, and even two hours after election started. Al-Omar stated that the number of female voters registered in the main committee alone is 1,033; affirming that the female presence in the sub-committees was also low. The main committee in Raqqa’s Salem Al-Mubarak High School witnessed low turnout in the first hours of the start of voting. Judge Abdulaziz Al-Musaad, who headed the 62 sub-committee in the district revealed: “Voters turnout is good so far, with 40 out of 1,567 voters. God willing, attendance will improve in the next hours,” he asserted. Moreover, a number of voters stressed the importance of participating in the election to choose someone to represent them and express their concerns to achieve their demands, hoping the winner will fulfill the promises he made to the voters.

By Inaas Awadh, Abdul Nasser Al-Aslami and Muhammad Al-Musleh
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff

This news has been read 1404 times!

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