MoI dept denies rumors about recent arrest of vote buyers

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Two candidates in Second Constituency pull out; total withdrawals increases to 8

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 11: Two candidates in the Second Constituency – Amal Hatem Al-Harbi and Hamad Eidan Al-Rasheed – on Sunday cancelled their candidacies for the upcoming National Assembly elections; increasing the number of candidates who withdrew from the electoral race to eight, while the total number of candidates decreased from 376 to 374. The Election Law stipulates that candidates are allowed to withdraw until Sept 22 (seven days before Election Day).

On the other hand, Assistant Undersecretary for Publishing and Printing at the Ministry of Information LafiAl-Subaie stressed the need for media outlets to strictly comply with the regulations, laws and Ministerial Resolution number 143/2016 on the coverage of parliamentary elections. In a press statement, Al-Subaie disclosed that many media outlets are conducting surveys regarding the election and publishing election analyses without scientific or academic bases. He pointed out that surveys conducted by unauthorized entities could affect the election results and misinform the public. He warned the ministry will take legal action against erring media outlets in order to ensure fair elections.

Meanwhile, many political activists drafted the ‘Document of Values’ that contain 12 promises for parliamentary election candidates to sign if they wish to do so. These promises include supporting bills on the Islamic Sharia; ensuring gender segregation in swimming pools, sports clubs and hotels; criminalizing the act of offending the Companions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH); and imposing proper dress code in universities. Abdulrahman Al-Nassar, who represents those who drafted the document, confirmed there will be a hotline for reporting violations.

He confirmed a number of candidates have so far signed the document, indicating all the signatories will be announced two days before the election. He added the candidates who signed the document include Muhammad Saad Al-Harbi, Mubarak Homoud Al-Tasha, Muhammad Barrak Al-Mutair, Muhammad Hayef and Adel Al-Damkhi. However, some public figures and bloggers consider the document unconstitutional and a way of using religion for political manipulation. Moreover, former MP Adel Al- Damkhi is one of the strong candidates in the First Constituency. He was born in 1965 and holds a Doctorate Degree in Islamic Law (Sharia). Al-Damkhi won the elections in 2012, ranking eighth in his constituency with 8,090 votes. He also won in 2016 when he ranked fourth in the constituency

He supported the grilling motion against former minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh in January 2018 but abstained from voting on the grilling motion against the same minister in May 2018. He also supported the grilling motions against former minister of Finance Bekheit Al-Rashedi, former minister of Commerce and Industry Khalid Al-Rawdan, former minister of Finance Barrak Al-Shaitan, former minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh and former minister of Education Soud Al-Harbi.

He was quoted as saying that the demographic imbalance causes economic damages and security infiltration. He called for cancelling the sponsorship system, preventing expatriates hired by contracting companies to implement development projects from transferring to another employer, and imposing harsher penalties on those proven to have committed violations. Lastly, the Public Relations and Security Media General Department at the Ministry of Interior issued a statement denying rumors about the recent arrest of vote buyers. It then affirmed that the concerned departments in the ministry are closely monitoring election-related activities and legal action will be taken against those who will be proven to have committed violations. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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