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KUWAIT CITY, May 18: The concerned committee at the Ministry of Interior has disqualified five candidates, including former MPs Muhammad Al-Juwaihel and Hani Shams in addition to one female candidate, for failure to meet the conditions. Shams confirmed his disqualification, while Majed Al-Mutairi and Marzouq Al-Hebeini who are standing for election in the Fifth Constituency, as well as Marzouq Al- Khalifa from the Fourth Constituency, denied the circulated information that they are among the disqualified candidates. Al-Hebeini posted on his Twitter account that such information is absolutely false, affirming he met all the conditions and he is pushing through with his campaign.
Al- Mutairi and Al- Khalifa made the same statement. Meanwhile, the First Instance Court, chaired by Judge Ahmad Al-Muasseb, has dismissed the petition of several former MPs to postpone the parliamentary election scheduled for June 6, 2023 until the Constitutional Court rules on the appeal to cancel its decision to nullify the 2022 Parliament. The First Instance Court clarified that such a petition is beyond its jurisdiction, while setting the date for the election is a sovereign action. In a relevant development, the Public Prosecution warned that whoever spreads false information about any of the candidates for the upcoming parliamentary election with the aim of distorting their image will be imprisoned for five years or fined KD2,000. The prosecution added that whoever participates in primary elections will be imprisoned for five years or fined KD2,000 to KD5,000.
Also, official spokesman of Kuwait Municipality Muhammad Al-Mutairi confirmed the issuance of licenses for 80 candidates to establish their campaign centers in various governorates as follows: 35 in the Capital, 14 in Hawally, 17 in Ahmadi, six each in Farwaniya and Jahra, and two in Mubarak Al-Kabeer. He also revealed that the Municipality is still reviewing 12 other license applications.
On the other hand, former MP and First Constituency candidate Muhammad Merwi Al-Hadiya said the implementation of political reform necessitates the urgent issuance of legislation; most importantly the amendment of National Assembly Election Law number 35/ 1962 in order to cancel the one-man-onevote system which, according to him, weakened national unity. He also stressed the need to amend the law on establishing the Constitutional Court, as it went beyond the authorities granted to His Highness the Amir. Former MP and Second Constituency candidate Farz Al- Daihani asserted the citizens are suffering due to the rising inflation that reached 3.7 percent.
He pointed out this necessitates increasing salaries, especially since the last increment was 10 years ago. He added the government must solve the citizens’ loans issue, warning that the continuation of the current conditions will lead to recession and the cost of addressing such an issue will be much higher. Traditionally, candidates for Kuwaiti National Assembly elections would erect their campaign headquarters nationwide to provide the masses with a glimpse of their agenda if elected, reports Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
But in recent years, and more in the 2023 elections, candidates had foregone the process of establishing a headquarters for their campaigns, opting for advertisement on social media platforms, in what was deemed as “new media”. In this regard, professor of media studies at Kuwait University (KU) Dr. Fawaz Al-Ajmi said that social media platforms were continuously evolving, which made it very attractive for candidates. Despite the increase in the number of such candidates, Dr. Al-Ajmi indicated that it was very hard to win the election race via online advertisements.
Voters need to trust the candidates for them to give their votes, affirmed Al-Ajmi who noted that candidates need to have a clear media message to come across for votes to decide. A headquarter-less candidate would have a problem in providing a professional point of view when came to relaying his or her message to the masses and those who rely on spreading the word via social media celebrities would lessen their chances of appearing professional and dedicated to the cause, he added. Similarly, professor of media at Kuwait University (KU) Dr. Mohammad Al-Otaibi pointed out that the rapid development of technologies had an obvious effect on elections, candidates and voters. There are some constituencies that adore a face-to-face interaction with candidates, while others force, on rare occasions, candidates to opt for the digital campaign route, indicated the academic. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff and Agencies
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