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Aerial View of Kuwait Parliament Building during Day
Aerial View of Kuwait Parliament Building during Day
Candidate registration opens, most ex-MPs bidding for re-election

KUWAIT: Registration for the April 4 snap parliamentary polls will start on Monday for 10 days, the interior ministry announced following the publication of an Amiri decree inviting voters to elect a new National Assembly in the official gazette Kuwait Al-Youm. As many as 49 out of the 50 members of the dissolved National Assembly have announced they are bidding for re-election, according to announcements made by them on social media. Only Osama Al-Shaheen has dropped out of the race for personal reasons.

Dozens of ex-MPs from previous assemblies have also announced their candidacies for the Assembly polls. Eligible candidates must be Kuwaiti citizens by birth, the interior ministry said, as naturalized Kuwaitis are barred for life from contesting parliamentary polls. Candidates must be at least 30 years old, have a clean criminal record and must not have been convicted of a serious crime unless they have been rehabilitated. The last day for registration of candidates is March 13, the interior ministry said, but withdrawals will remain open until March 28.

The National Assembly was dissolved by HH the Amir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Feb 15 over remarks made by some MPs deemed offensive to HH the Amir. It was the third assembly to be dissolved since August 2020 and the ninth since 2006 due to non-stop political disputes between the government and opposition MPs.

Voting starts at midday and will continue until midnight on April 4 because it falls during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, where adult Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for 30 consecutive days. It will be the second time elections are held in the month of Ramadan. The first time was in 2013.

Kuwait, with a native population of 1.5 million, has around 800,000 male and female voters who must be at least 21 years of age. Naturalized Kuwaitis can vote after 20 years of gaining citizenship. Kuwait is divided into five constituencies, with each constituency electing 10 MPs.

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