By B Izzak 

KUWAIT: Thirty-one candidates registered to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections on Saturday, the second day of registration, bringing the total of hopefuls who have filed papers so far to 61. The candidates on Saturday include nine former MPs and seven members of the 2022 Assembly which was scrapped by the constitutional court. In the first two days, as many as 19 former MPs and 15 members of the 2022 Assembly have registered to run in the elections.

The number of candidates has so far been relatively low, as 185 candidates registered in the first two days for the Sept 2022 elections. There was only one woman on the first day of registration compared to eight on the first day of registration in the September polls. The reason could be attributed to the fact that Friday and Saturday are the weekend days in Kuwait. In statements made after registration, candidates stressed that ongoing political crises have paralyzed development in the country and called for cooperation during the next Assembly term.

“Kuwait is passing through extraordinary political conditions which have negatively impacted political and economic stability in the country” former MP Saleh Ashour said after registering to contest in the first constituency. “The responsibility of the next Assembly is to restore trust and confidence among citizens,” he said. Former MP and ex-minister Hussein Al-Huraiti said there is a real crisis between the National Assembly and the government. “This crisis has paralyzed the country and obstructed development” said Huraiti, who is running in the first constituency.

Former MP Khalil Al-Saleh said Kuwait has retreated as a result of political instability. “The country is experiencing a state of political instability  as there were three general elections in the past three years,” Saleh said. Former MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf expected there will be “a battle between the forces of corruption and the forces of reform and the people will emerge victorious”.

Former MP Faisal Al-Kandari, who registered to run in the fifth constituency, said Kuwaiti people are frustrated and exhausted because of the continued political crises which marred Kuwaiti politics for most of the past two decades. “Let’s shun disputes and differences ... People are frustrated and exhausted and the country is retreating. We should begin a new era and focus on achieving the people’s aspirations” Kandari said.

Former lawmaker Hamad Al-Matar said people no longer feel safe in their own country because of instability. “Kuwait and its people are fed-up and citizens feel insecure ... We must vote to achieve stability,” said Matar. This is Kuwait’s second parliamentary elections in just under nine months and the 10th since 2006 as a result of political crises that saw the Assembly dissolved by HH the Amir or revoked by the court for as many as eight times.

Former MP Saadoun Hammad, who registered to contest in the third constituency, added more pessimism as he expected the next Assembly to be revoked by the constitutional court over procedural mistakes in the Amiri decree that dissolved the Assembly. The Assembly elected in Dec 2020 was dissolved in August 2022, barely after 18 months of its four-year term because of non-stop political disputes between the government and MPs and even among lawmakers themselves.

Snap polls were held in Sept 2022 in which the opposition won a landslide victory. But the constitutional court in March annulled the election process over wrong constitutional procedures. It also revived the 2020 Assembly which was dissolved by HH the Amir. But HH the Amir again dissolved the reinstated Assembly in early May and decided to go back to the people to elect their representatives with the hope to resolve the political impasse. “We need cooperation to achieve political stability and uplift the living standard of the people,” said veteran former MP Ahmad Lari after registering to contest in the first constituency.