Kuwait goes to the polls

August 2003
Middle East;Aug/Sep2003, Issue 337, p12
The Kuwaiti elections revealed some interesting candidates and a host of political conundrums. When Kuwaitis went to the polls in July 2003 to elect their 10th parliament since independence from Great Britain in 1961, several women cast their votes in a shadow poll organized by the Kuwaiti Journalists Association. Kuwaiti women are not allowed to participate in their country's electoral process and the shadow poll votes were not valid. Yet their contribution to the latest electoral process was historic and fascinating in what it revealed when the shadow votes were counted. The real counting that went on overnight in Kuwait returned gloomy news for liberals and modernizers. However, it was swiftly noted that including the mock votes of the women's poll would have returned the opposite result. A pre-election poll showed only 35.6% support for giving women full political rights among the 246 candidates who fought 50 seats in 25 constituencies.


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