Islamists sweep Kuwait polls

A sweeping victory for Islamist candidates in Kuwait’s general election signalled the abrupt end of the emirate’s government, which has already resigned.

Kuwaitis walk under banners with
names of candidates  

The resignation was submitted to Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah in accordance with the emirate’s constitution, Kuwait television reported.


The new parliament will hold its inaugural session on 19 July.


A new government is expected to be formed by then amid mounting speculation that Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abd Allah al-Salem al-Sabah would not retain his post as prime minister.


The ailing crown prince has held the premiership for more than two decades.


Liberals defeated


Islamist and pro-government candidates scored a sweeping victory in Kuwait’s legislative elections, giving a major blow to liberals, results showed on Sunday.


Liberals managed to maintain only two of the eight seats they were holding in the outgoing parliament.


They lost their seats to Islamist and pro-government candidates.


Veteran liberal opposition figure Abd Allah al-Naibari, from the Kuwait Democratic Forum (KDF), lost his seat, leaving the grouping with no parliamentary representation.


Two other prominent liberal figures ousted were Ahmed al-Rubei and MP Mishari al-Osaimi.


Victory for Islamists


Islamists, including Sunni, Shia and independents, have won 16 seats, while pro-government MPs are now about 20.


The Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), the leading mainstream Islamist group, won two seats, down from five.


Among the defeated was leading opposition figure Mubarak al-Duwaila.


ICM’s main figure, Nasser al-Sane, managed to retain his seat.


The Islamist Salafi Movement won at least two seats.


The movement’s offshoot, the Scientific Salafi group, won three seats, up from one in the previous parliament.


Prominent Shia opposition figures Adnan Abd al-Samad and Abd al-Mohsen Jamal’s seats went to other Islamist Shias.


Shias had six seats in the previous parliament, but are now down to five.


Four of these seats were filled by Islamists and one by a pro-government candidate.


There are 24 new faces in the new parliament. The remaining 26 are current MPs who have retained their seats from the outgoing 1999 National Assembly.


The elections were marred by sharp criticism over barring women from the right to vote and to run as candidates.


Only 136,715 men were eligible to vote for the new parliament out of a local population of 898,000.


They are Kuwaiti males over 21 including naturalized citizens who have been holding the Kuwaiti citizenship for at least 20 years.


The elections is the tenth since 1963, when the oil-rich emirate became the first Gulf country to have an elected parliament.

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