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Kuwait’s 13th Municipal Council elections, step within country’s democratic march

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s 13th Municipal Council elections take place on Saturday in yet another manifestation of democracy and a boost to role of civil society in development and advancement in the Arab Gulf country. Municipal elections are important because of the vital role of Municipal Council which formulates policies of Kuwait Municipality, particularly health, environment and urban development. Saturday’s elections will feature 44 candidates including two women, running in 10 constituencies. The government will then appoint six members in the 16-seat Municipal Council.

Kuwait Municipality was established in 1930, during which Kuwaiti citizens had a chance to elect their representatives in the Municipal Council, a historic development within Kuwait community. Since its independence on June 19, 1961, the State of Kuwait witnessed 12 Municipal Council elections. The first was held in June 1964. This council, chaired by Mohammad Al-Adsani, lasted until May 14, 1966. This council did not complete its term because an Amiri Decree was issued on May 19, 1966 that dissolved the house and formed a committee, chaired by Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Yusuf Al-Rifae, carrying out the Municipal Council’s mandate until 1972. The second elections were held in June 1972 with a turnout of 36.6 percent. Bader Yusuf bin Essa was elected chairman. He resigned and replaced by Abdulaziz Al-Adsani.

The third Municipal Council was elected in June 1976 with a voting turnout at 36.8 percent. Mohammad Al-Adsani was elected as chairman. The fourth Municipal Council was elected in June 1980 with a turnout of 36.1 percent. Abdulaziz Al-Adsani was elected chairman. However, the Council was dissolved on December 20, 1983.The fifth council was elected in January 1984 and lasted until August 1986.

Dawood Al-Saleh was elected as chairman. The turnout in this election was 67.6 percent. Elections for the sixth Municipal Council were held on October 4, 1993, the first following the liberation of Kuwait. Turnout was 47.9 percent and Mohammad Al-Shaye was elected as chairman. However, an Amiri Decree was issued on December 11, 1994 that dissolved the council. Elections for the seventh Municipal Council, which saw a turnout of 54.1 percent, were held on June 6, 1995. Abdulrahman Al-Houti was named chairman.

The eighth Municipal Council was elected on June 9, 1999. Turnout was 61.3 percent. Ahmad Al-Adsani was elected chairman of council. The ninth Municipal Council was elected on June 2, 2005, which was the first time that women ran for council seats. Three days later, the government appointed two women as members of the council: Assistant Undersecretary at the Amiri Diwan Fatma Al-Sabah and Fawziya Al-Bahar.

The 10th Municipal Council was elected on June 25, 2009 with a low turnout at 20.56 percent. Zaid Ayesh was elected as chairman. The next elections for the 11th Council were held on September 28, 2013. On May 12, 2018, elections for the 12th Municipal Council took place, Osama Al-Otaibi was elected as council chairman. Women indeed ran for Municipal Council elections but were unlucky. However, the government appointed female members. Ashwaq Al-Mudhaf, Jenan Bushehri and Mona Buresli in 2009 and Maha Al-Baghli in 2018. – KUNA

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