By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Seventy new candidates including two women filed nominations to run in the upcoming national assembly polls on the second day of registration on Tuesday, bringing the total number of hopefuls to 185, including 10 females. The new candidates include nine members of the dissolved assembly, bringing the total number of those members to 25. The candidates also included seven former lawmakers from previous assemblies, raising their number to 14. Prominent among new candidates were deputy speaker of the dissolved house Ahmad Al-Shuhoumi, former opposition MPs Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Hamdan Al-Azmi and Marzouq Al-Khalifa. They also included the controversial candidate Mohammad Al-Juwaihel who was a member in the 2012 assembly which was nullified by the court.

Ex-MP Khalifa gave himself up to the police immediately after filing his nomination papers. He was taken to jail pending a ruling from the top court on September 12 regarding accusations he took part in the outlawed tribal primary elections just ahead of the December 5, 2020 general polls. Khalifa was sentenced to two years in jail by the lower court. The verdict was upheld by the court of appeals and he challenged the ruling before the court of cassation, whose rulings are final. The court of cassation’s judge ordered that Khalifa should go to jail until the court issued its verdict.

Juwaihel is known for his extremely controversial statements. After registering to run in the third constituency, he told reporters that he will focus to “get rid of the stateless people” locally known as Bedoons. He said he wants to get rid of Bedoons who claim to be Kuwaiti citizens. “We must find a solution to get rid of them” said, adding that he has the documents to prove his case. Juwaihel also said that he will not vote for veteran opposition leader Ahmad Al-Saadoun as a speaker because “he does not deserve”.

Former MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf said the dissolution of the assembly came after cooperation between the assembly and the government became impossible. He said the country experienced a “black decade” in the past 10 years, during which corruption was rife and the constitution was violated in a flagrant way. Former MP Hamdan Al-Azmi said the country is passing through a crucial period, adding that some reform steps have started and “we hope it will continue”. The snap polls will be held on September 29. Registration of candidates will continue until September 7.