KUWAIT: Kuwaiti voters will go to the polls on Thursday, across five electoral constituencies, to cast their votes and elect members of the National Assembly (Parliament) for the 17th legislative term of 2022. Voters will bear responsibility to reshape the course of the political scene and choose the right candidates that would best serve them and the nation.

While being presented with the ballot paper, voters would recall His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah's speech, which was delivered on his behalf by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, stressing on choosing strong, trustworthy, and candidates faithful to Almighty Allah and then his country and those who puts the interest of Kuwait and its people above everything else.

Among the 305 candidates running for the National Assembly elections, 795,911 Kuwaitis will choose 50 members to represent them in the Parliament. The voting process, which takes place according to the one-vote system, will start from 8:00 am and will be held until 8:00 pm local time, after which heads of the electoral committees will announce the end of the voting process and begin the counting of votes followed by the announcement of the official results later on.

The first constituency will have 48 candidates with 100,185 eligible voters. The second constituency will also have 48 candidates competing to win the votes of 90,478 eligible voters. In the third constituency, 47 candidates will compete to win votes from 138,364 eligible voters. The fourth constituency will see 80 candidates competing to win votes out of 208,971 voters. Lastly, the fifth constituency will witness 82 candidates competing to win votes out of 257,913 voters. In terms of eligible voters, every Kuwaiti who has reached the age of 21 on polling day, after he or she is automatically registered in the voters' list, must bring his or her citizenship certificate and civil identification card to the polling station.

In the event of losing the citizenship certificate, the Ministry of Interior's General Administration of Nationality and Travel Documents is ready to receive the voters on polling day and issue a certificate so as to enable them to vote. Voters could inquire about the polling stations via the Sahel application or visit the website of the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry's Elections Affairs Department has also allocated a hotline number (1889-888) to respond to any inquiries from voters from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm on Thursday.

The 2022 elections will be held in line with Decree No. 136 of August 2, 2022 to dissolve the previous Assembly due to 'incompatibility, non-cooperation, differences, conflicts, giving priority to personal interests, including practices and behaviors that threaten national unity.' The political leadership decided 'to opt for the people of Kuwait and respect their wishes, so that they can correct the course of the political scene in a manner that achieves the country's best national interests.'

The political leadership also underlined to citizens, the importance of the country's future and requirements of the next phase, to elect better representatives, to reflect their aspirations, achieve their hopes and implement their desires, expressing hope that the choice will not be based on bias to the sect, tribe or a group at the expense of the nation.

In August, a Decree No. 147 of 2022 was also issued to decide Sept 29 as a day for voting, in which government departments would be on holiday. Preparations for voting day by the government were finalized, in order to provide the most suitable atmosphere for voters to perform their national duty to the fullest. Police forces will be deployed to facilitate and simplify the procedures during voting day.

The Ministry of Education announced the designation of 123 schools as polling stations, including five schools, which were chosen as main committees, and 118 schools which were chosen as sub-committees polling stations distributed across all five constituencies. Meanwhile, Director-General of Kuwait Municipality and Chairman of the Joint Committee for the National Elections (Umma 2022) Ahmad Al-Manfouhi said that they have adopted an integrated plan to organize and facilitate the voting process in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and other bodies concerned with elections to highlight the country's democratic practices in its finest depiction.

The Ministry of Information also confirmed its readiness to carry out a comprehensive and detailed coverage through a network of correspondents, five external studios and a central studio for television coverage from 8 am to 8 pm, in addition to Studio 800, to cover the vote counting hub and announce the results swiftly and accurately. - KUNA