Kuwaiti Opposition Wins Majority in Parliamentary Elections
Kuwaitis voted to hand opposition lawmakers a majority in the country’s parliament after the Gulf state held its seventh general elections in just over a decade, according to results announced Wednesday.
Annulment of Last Year’s Election
The vote Tuesday came after Kuwait’s constitutional court in March annulled the results of last year’s election and the parliament was dissolved – in which the opposition made significant gains – and reinstated the previous parliament elected in 2020.
Opposition Wins 29 Seats
Opposition lawmakers won 29 of the legislature’s 50 seats, according to results published by the official Kuwait News Agency. Only one woman was elected – opposition candidate Janan Bushehri.
The make-up of the new parliament is very similar to the one elected last year and later annulled, with all but 12 of its 50 members retaining their seats.
Return of Longtime Parliament Speaker
Longtime Parliament Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim and Ahmed al-Saadoun, who replaced him last year, both return to parliament. Saadoun is expected to run again for the post of speaker.
“We are celebrating today the (victory of the) reformist approach,” opposition lawmaker Adel al-Damkhi told reporters after the results were announced.
“The election results are an indication of the awareness of the Kuwaiti people.”
50% Voter Turnout
Turnout reached 50% one hour before polls closed, according to the Kuwait Transparency Society, a nongovernmental organization (NGO). Last year’s election saw a turnout of 63%.
Political Life in Kuwait
Since Kuwait adopted a parliamentary system in 1962, the legislature has been dissolved around a dozen times.
While lawmakers are elected, Kuwait’s cabinet ministers are installed by the ruling al-Sabah family, which maintains a strong grip over political life.
Continual standoffs between the branches of government have prevented lawmakers from passing economic reforms, while repeated budget deficits and low foreign investment have added to an air of gloom.
Speaking to AFP Tuesday, Bushehri, the new parliament’s only female member, said she expected it “to seek stability and move ahead on outstanding issues, whether political or economic.”