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Moderate voter turnout expected in Kuwait polls
November 14, 2016, 11:22 am

Voter turnout for Kuwait’s parliamentary election is expected to be around 60 percent, a report said. The percentage would mean that 290,000 of the 483,000 voters would cast their ballots on November 26 to elect the 50 members who will make up the next parliament.

Since parliamentary elections were first held in 1962, turnover has fluctuated between 40.3 percent and 90 percent. The highest, 90 percent, was reached twice—in 1962 to elect the constitutional assembly one year after the independence and in 1981 following the resumption of the parliamentary life following a five-year hiatus, Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas reported on Sunday. The turnover remained steady, ranging between 81 and 85 percent, from 1985 until 2003.

However, it dropped to 66.5 percent after women, in a historic breakthrough, obtained the right to vote and run in elections. Although they were fully eligible to vote and run, scores of women kept away from taking an active political role and refused to cast their ballots, resulting in the drop in turnout.

In 2012, a boycott by the opposition caused the election turnover to plummet to 40.3 percent. The opposition had sought to reverse the amendment to the election law that slashed the number of candidates a voter could elect from four to one and took the case to the Constitutional Court. However, the court upheld the amendment and the opposition decided to boycott the elections.

The participation rate increased in the election held the following year, reaching 51.9 percent. The overwhelming majority of the opposition figures said they would end their boycott and take part in the electionthis month, a decision that would shoot up the turnover.

Source: Gulf News

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