Shiite Muslims lost two seats of parliament in Kuwait general elections // Shiite News Exclusive

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Saturday, 04 February 2012

shiitenewsbahrain A year after the Arab Spring began, its ripples have reached oil-rich Kuwait, one of the most politically stable states in the region: Thursday’s elections bring a dramatic change in the makeup of the 50-seat National Assembly, opening the way for a new balance of power in the country.

According to the report of Shiite News Election Monitoring Cell, To start with, a 60-per cent voter turnout underscored a national consensus that the parliament
should become a key element in decision-making. The desire for change was further indicated by the fact that half the seats went to candidates elected for the first time. Few veterans of Kuwait’s parliamentary politics survived.

Because political parties are not allowed, it is difficult to identify any particular group as the overall winner. Headlines screaming “The Victory of Islamists” are simply misleading; the biggest gains were made by candidates running with the backing of their tribes. Divided in two distinct groups, tribal candidates won 20 seats.

Though the Islam Uprising grips the Middle East and North African Muslims Countries but the Minority Shiites of Kuwait, who form about 30 per cent of the native population saw their representation reduced to seven MPs from nine.

Shiites were reduced to seven MPs from nine in the previous house with Maasouma Al-Mubarak and Rula Dashti the main losers. The Shiite National Islamic Alliance added one more seat to former MP Adnan Abdulsamad when former MP Ahmad Lari won. Hussein Al-Qallaf and new comer Abdulhameed Dashti also won. Former female MP Maasouma Al-Mubarak, who maintained her position among the top 10 during most of the counting period but lost at the end, said she will challenge the results in court, alleging irregularities in counting and calculation.

But the main loser among Shiites was moderate MP Hassan Jowhar who at times was close to the opposition. He came in the 17th position. Main losers among the pro-government MPs include Mekhled Al-Azemi, Khalaf Dumaitheer, Askar Al-Enezi and Mohammad Al-Huwailah. Among the main former MPs who returned is leading liberal MP Mohammad Al-Sager, Islamists Mohammad Al-Kundari, Abdullatif Al-Ameeri and Mohammad Al-Hatlani. The main surprise of the election perhaps is the unexpected victory of controversial anti-opposition figures Nabeel Al-Fadl and Mohammad Al-Juwaihel, both from the third constituency. Juwaihel and Fadl, a columnist in Al-Watan, have been highly critical of Bedouin tribes and the opposition.

The two candidates are believed to have received most of their votes from the 9,000-strong Shiite voters who were urged by their religious leaders to support them. Shiite candidate Fakher Al-Qallaf, who lost in the same constituency, protested strongly after the results at why Shiite leaders supported Juwaihel and Fadl and not their own candidates. The whereabouts of Juwaihel are unknown since he disappeared on Monday after harshly criticizing the Mutairi tribe at an election rally, prompting thousands of tribesmen to burn his election tent.

Although candidates affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis succeeded in the election, religious fervour did not play a central role in their campaigns. Analysts say Islamists owed their gains to their outspoken criticism of the former prime minister, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, and his cabinet.

The big winners were Salafist (traditionalist) candidates, promising a return to the “Golden Age” of Islam. They won 14 seats and could emerge as the main opposition in the new parliament.

Candidates backed by the Muslim Brotherhood also did well, moving from two seats in the last parliament to seven in the new. however, No women were elected to the new house compared to four in the previous assembly when women made history by winning seats in the assembly. Analysts have attributed the women debacle to the female lawmakers’ blind support of the government.

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