Islamist-led opposition wins majority in Kuwait parliament

AFP, Friday 3 Feb 2012

Sunni Islamist-led opposition secures 34 out of 50 parliamentary seats in Kuwait's polls compared with just nine in the dissolved parliament, while liberals won only two places against five previously

Ballots are taken out of a transparent box and unfolded at the start of the counting of votes in Jabriya, February 2, 2012, after the polls closed for the 2012 parliamentary elections in Kuwait. (Photo:Reuters)

Kuwait's Islamist-led opposition has won a landslide majority in Kuwait's snap polls by securing 34 seats in the 50-member parliament, officials results released on Friday showed.

Sunni Islamists took 23 seats compared with just nine in the dissolved parliament, while liberals were the big losers, winning only two places against five previously.

No women were elected, with the four female MPs of the previous parliament all losing their seats.

Voters punished pro-government MPs, reducing them to a small minority, especially 13 former MPs who were questioned by the public prosecutor over corruption charges.

The opposition scored strongly in the two tribal-dominated constituencies, winning 18 of the 20 available seats. Kuwait is divided into five electoral districts, with each electing 10 lawmakers.

Minority Shiites who form about 30 percent of the native population saw their representation reduced to seven MPs from nine, with four of them from Islamist groups.

The snap polls were held after the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state dissolved parliament following youth-led protests and after bitter disputes between the opposition MPs and the government.

The protests also led to the resignation of the former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who was later replaced by another senior member of the ruling family.

OPEC member Kuwait has been rocked by a series of political crises over the past six years, leading to the resignation of seven governments and dissolution of parliament on four occasions. 

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