PRO-GOVERNMENT MPs HOLD FRAGILE MAJORITY – Opposition bloc vies for Speakership

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Display of fireworks to celebrate the victory of Thamer Saad Al-Thifeeri who came 1st in the Fourth Constituency in the just-concluded parliamentary elections
Display of fireworks to celebrate the victory of Thamer Saad Al-Thifeeri who came 1st in the Fourth Constituency in the just-concluded parliamentary elections

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 27: Islamist-dominated opposition groups and their allies secured nearly half of the Kuwaiti Parliament’s seats, official election results showed Sunday, raising fears of fresh political wrangling in the country.

Meanwhile, the opposition MPs-elect will meet before the end of this week to discuss work guidelines for the next period, and to coordinate their efforts on the Speakership and other positions in the legislature. Sources said the meeting may lead to an agreement on the formation of a parliamentary bloc to set priorities for its members in the first session of the new Parliament which opens in two weeks.

Sources explained the members are expected to support MP-elect Shuaib Al-Muwaizri’s bid for Speakership and seek the support of MPs outside the bloc; hinting on coordination with MP-elect Abdullah Al-Roumi who will also contest for the Speakership.

The opposition and its allies won 24 of the assembly’s 50 seats, the electoral authority announced following Saturday’s snap election called after a dispute over the hiking of petrol prices.

The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition contested the election after a four-year boycott in protest over the government’s amendment of the key voting system. Around half of the opposition candidates who won seats are Islamists from a Muslim Brotherhood-linked group and Salafists.

Voters dealt a heavy blow to candidates from the outgoing Parliament, with more than half of them failing to make it into the new assembly.

Two of three Cabinet ministers also failed in their bid for re-election. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah sent on Sunday cables of congratulations to the winners of the 2016 National Assembly’s elections.

In the cables, His Highness the Amir wished the winners success in their duties aiming to serve and develop the homeland. His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables to the new MPs. “Surprise,” read the main headline on the website of Al- Qabas newspaper, adding that the election had resulted in a “62-percent change” in the Parliament.

One third of the members of the new Parliament are relatively young and fresh on the political scene. Only one woman was elected and the Muslim Shiite minority was reduced to six seats from nine in the previous house.

Out of all winners in the justconcluded parliamentary elections, former Parliament speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanim stood out as he held first place in the Second Constituency like he did in the last election despite numerous social media attacks against him. He also managed to break his 2013 record of 3,170 votes as he got 4,119 votes this year.

While celebrating his victory, he asserted the Kuwaiti public has spoken in spite of the opposing voices that criticized him and his efforts in the dissolved Parliament. He pointed out he did not retaliate in any way during his campaign, for the truth is out there and the decision is in the hands of the public. In the First Constituency, although Adnan AbdulSamad topped the list of winners as he did in the last elections; he was not able to maintain the number of votes which decreased to 4,287 compared to 4,975 votes in the 2013 election.

In the Third Constituency, another surprise came as firsttime candidate, Abdulwahab Al-Babtain, landed on the first place with 3,730 votes; overthrowing former MP and Minister of Oil Dr Ali Al-Omair who failed to make it in this electoral race.

Moving on to the Fourth Constituency, Thamer Al- Thifeeri, who failed in the 2013 election, managed to climb to the top this year with 5,601 votes; while Sultan Al-Ghesm who enjoyed the top seat in 2013 completely failed this time, so he unveiled his plan to file a court petition to challenge the 2016 election results.

Similarly in the Fifth Constituency, Hmoud Al-Khudair ended up on top with 5,072 votes pushing down Hamdan Al-Azmi to second place after holding the top post for so long; while Abdullah Al-Tamimi is at the bottom of the polls even though he was first in 2013.

Meanwhile, former MP Abdel Hameed Dashti claimed the government wants to show the world that it embraces democracy; indicating that security supervision over registration and disqualification of candidates, voters’ registration, organization of elections and transfer of ballot boxes was suspicious. He expects candidates, who were not lucky, to challenge the election results, adding that the situation would have been completely different if there is an independent electoral body with integrity. “We want serious and fair democracy, unlike the government which wants to show off to the world,” he stressed. He warned, “A lot of malpractices, and sometimes, anarchy in the election will distort Kuwait’s democracy.” He said some candidates intend to challenge the constitutionality of the dissolution of the previous Parliament and the results of elections after losing in the polls.

In another development, Kuwait Authority for Anti-Corruption (KANCOR) announced Sunday that its doors are now open to receive financial disclosures of MPs-elect in accordance with the law.

Head of the authority Abdulrahman Nimash Al-Nimash explained every newly-elected MP is obligated to submit his/her financial disclosure within 60 days after the official announcement of the election results, asserting the Anti- Corruption Law and regulations will be strictly enforced.

Meanwhile, the Judicial commission in charge of counting votes in the five constituencies has announced results of the 2016 National Assembly elections as follows:

First Constituency:

1. Adnan Sayed Abulsamad (4,287 votes)

2. Essa Ahmad Al-Kanderi (4,077 votes)

3. Mohammad Mirwi Al-Hadiyah (3,016 votes)

4. Adel Jassem Al-Damkhi (2,758 votes)

5. Abdullah Youssef Al-Roumi (2,731 votes)

6. Saleh Ahmad Ashour (2,541 votes)

7. Mubarak Salem Al-Harees (2,444 votes)

8. Osama Essa Al-Shaheen (2,270 votes)

9. Khaled Hussein Al-Shatti (2,166 votes)

10. Salah Abduredha Khourshid (2,131 votes)

Second Constituency:

1. Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim (4,119 votes)

2. Riyadh Ahmad Al-Adsani (3,578 votes)

3. Khalil Ibrahim Al-Saleh (2,914 votes)

4. Jamaan Thaher Al-Herbish (2,432 votes)

5. Hamad Seif Al-Harshani (2,341 votes)

6. Mohammad Barrak Al-Mutair (2,172 votes)

7. Khalaf Dumaitheer Al-Enizi (1,942 votes)

8. Youssef Al-Nisf (1,888 votes)

9. Ouda Ouda Al-Ruwaiee (1,772 votes)

10. Omar Abdulmohsin Al-Tabtabaei (1,755 votes)

Third Constituency:

1. Abdulwahab Mohammad Al- Babtain (3,730 votes)

2. Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi (3,444 votes)

3. Youssef Saleh Al-Fedhalah (3,399 votes)

4. Abdulkarim Abdullah Al-Kanderi (3,325 votes)

5. Safaa Abdurrahman Al-Hashim (3,273 votes)

6. Mohammad Hussein Al-Dalaal (2,533 votes)

7. Walid Musaaed Al-Tabtabaei (2,504 votes)

8. Khalil Abdullah Abul (2,443 votes)

9. Mohammad Nasser Al-Jabri (2,219 votes)

10. Ahmad Nabil Al-Fadhel (2,124 votes)

Fourth Constituency:

1. Thamer Saad Al-Thifeeri (5,601 votes)

2. Mubarak Haif Al-Hajraf (4,621 votes)

3. Mohammad Hayef Al-Mutairi (4,506 votes)

4. Saad Ali Al-Rusheedi (3,811 votes)

5. Abdullah Fahad Al-Enizi (3,545 votes)

6. Shueib Shabab Al-Muweizri (3,528 votes)

7. Ali Salem Al-Deqbasi (3,379 votes)

8. Askar Auwayed Al-Enizi (2,972 votes)

9. Saud Mohammad Al-Shuwaier (2,897 votes)

10. Marzouq Khalifa Al-Khalifa (2,874 votes)

Fifth Constituency:

1. Humoud Abdullah Al-Khudeir (5,072 votes)

2. Hamdan Salem Al-Azmi (5,038 votes)

3. Al-Humaidi Bader Al-Subaiee (4,660 votes)

4. Talal Saad Al-Jalaal (4,299 votes)

5. Faisal Mohammad Al-Kanderi (4,114 votes)

6. Khaled Mohammad Al-Otaibi (3,998 votes)

7. Majed Musaaed Al-Mutairi (3,821 votes)

8. Nayef Abdulaziz Al-Ajmi (3,769 votes)

9. Nasser Saad Al-Doussari (3,296 votes)

10. Mohammad Hadi Al-Huweila (2,851 votes)

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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