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Aerial View of Kuwait Parliament Building during Day
Aerial View of Kuwait Parliament Building during Day
Assembly panel approves party-like election system, scraps one-vote system

KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee on Sunday voted to approve a draft law to reform the election system by introducing for the first time a party-like lists system and also abolishing the controversial single-vote system. Under the new system, candidates are allowed to contest the elections based on lists – groups – that must include between four and six candidates. In addition, candidates can still run on their own as individuals, head of the committee MP Mohannad Al-Sayer said.

Under the new system, every Kuwaiti voter can cast two votes — one must go to one of the lists and the other can be given to another list or to an individual candidate. This system will abolish the single-vote system, which allows voters to cast just one vote. This system was introduced unilaterally by the government about a decade ago and triggered political disputes. Kuwait will remain divided into five electoral districts and each will elect 10 MPs.

MP Saud Al-Asfour, writing on his X account, said he supports the draft law but criticized the failure of the committee to discuss other proposals to redistribute voters in the constituencies to have a fair distribution of voters in the five constituencies.

Member of the panel, MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari, said proposals calling for the redistribution of voters among electoral constituencies have been delayed to prevent disputes among lawmakers. Under the present distribution system, the fifth and fourth constituencies, with mainly tribal voters, have almost 60 percent of the voters but still elect only 20 of the 50 seats, whereas the remaining three constituencies have just over 40 percent of the voters but elect as many as 30 lawmakers. MP Asfour called the distribution of the voters as “unfair”. Kandari said this matter will be left for the election commission to settle.

MP Osama Al-Shaheen described the new system as a “major leap” for democratic reform in the way to implement a full parliamentary system in Kuwait. The draft law is scheduled to be debated by the National Assembly on Dec 19.

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