KUWAIT: Elections are likely to be held on July 20, less than two weeks into Ramadan, according to a government insider, who said a decree calling for Kuwaitis to head to the polls could be issued as early as next Sunday. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was quoted by Al-Qabas daily, which also indicated that most members of the liberal National Democratic Forum, as well as the Awazem and Ajman tribes, who boycotted last December’s polls, are expected to take part in the upcoming elections.
On the other hand, members of the oppositionist Popular Action Movement and the Islamic Constitutional Movement, along with most members of the Salafist Islamic Assembly, have announced plans to boycott the upcoming elections in protest against the single- vote system that the Constitutional Court upheld on Sunday. “Our decision to boycott the elections is based on principle and reflects our belief that the constitution must be the reference, and the ruling regime must never be autocratic,” leading ICM member Mubarak Al-Duwailah told Al-Qabas.
While the constitutional court upheld HH the Amir’s right to issue emergency decrees in the absence of a parliament, based on his assessment of the state of urgency, decisions to boycott the elections are mostly based on the idea that amending the electoral system outside the parliament infringes on people’s right to determine the course of the House of their representatives. “Former MPs Khalid Al-Sultan, Mohammad Al-Kandari and I reiterate our position to avoid taking part in an assembly that lacks decision-making powers and is subjected to the executive authority’s decisions,” said former MP Abdullah Al-Omairi, reflecting part of the Safalist movement’s opinions.
Meanwhile, fellow Salafist politician and former MP Ali Al-Omair stated that running for the parliament became “necessary” after the court’s ruling. The chief of the Awazem tribe, Falah bin Jame’a, told Al- Qabas that tribal leaders were planning to hold a meeting within a week in order to determine their position with regard to the upcoming elections. He pointed out that the tribesmen had “no disputes” with other sectors and were “in harmony with the Kuwaiti people.” In the meantime, a parliament insider told Al-Qabas that between 17 and 22 MPs of the recently annulled parliament are not planning to run again, making it almost certain that at least 50 percent of the upcoming parliament will be new members.
In a related note, Al-Rai daily reported that members of the annulled parliament have discussed the possibility of putting pressure on the prime minister to avoid a scenario that sees him provide support to former MPs Mohammad Al-Saqr and Marzouq Al-Ghanim, should any of them run for speaker.
This was revealed by sources familiar with a meeting hosted by Yaqoub Al-Sane recently, which was attended by 17 members of the annulled parliament, including its speaker, Ali Al-Rashid. Meanwhile, Al-Saqr told Al-Rai that he had yet to decide whether to contest in the upcoming elections. Separately, Director of the Elections Department in the Ministry of Interior Colonel Mohammad Al-Adwani told Al-Anba that around 439,000 Kuwaitis are eligible to vote in the upcoming elections.