KUWAIT: Former MP Hasan Jawhar registers for parliament elections yesterday. - KUNA

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: As many as 31 new candidates including five women yesterday registered to contest the forthcoming parliamentary polls scheduled for December 5, raising the number of candidates so far to 364 including 33 women. The registration of candidates ends today while withdrawal of candidates will continue until seven days before the elections date.

Two MPs, Mohammad Al-Mutair in the second constituency and Ahmad Al-Fadhl in the third constituency were the only lawmakers who filed their papers hoping to get re-elected. As many as 38 of the 50 MPs in the outgoing assembly have registered as candidates. But the major surprise yesterday was the registration of Hasan Jawhar, a veteran former opposition lawmaker, who has boycotted all elections since 2012 when the single-vote system was introduced by the government.

Jawhar's registration comes amid reports that a number of leading opposition figures, including Obaid Al-Wasmi, were planning to end the boycott and contest the elections. But several leading opposition figures like Mussallam Al-Barrak, Jamaan Al-Harbash, Faisal Al-Meslim and others remain in self-exile in Turkey for the past two years when the top court sentenced them to several years in jail over storming the national assembly building in 2011.

A section of the opposition believes that the best way to stop the slide in the domestic politics is to participate in the elections and increase their presence in the assembly, while the other section still believes that there is no way of reforming domestic politics under the current voting system.

In the meantime, head of an assembly panel probing the Malaysian sovereign fund scandal MP Awdah Al-Awdah said the committee voted to approve a report on the issue and send it to the government. The lawmaker said the panel arrived at 19 results and 11 recommendations but the investigation is still incomplete and needs to be continued by the next assembly. The committee was asked to investigate allegations that senior Kuwaiti figures took part in illegal money transfers linked to the Malaysian sovereign fund scandal. The case was also investigated by the public prosecution.