Kuwaitis cast an early parliamentary vote

-File photo

Kuwaitis began casting their ballots Saturday to elect their second parliament in less than a year, amid an opposition boycott.

Some 307 candidates, including 14 women, are vying for the 50 seats up for grabs in the oil-rich emirate’s five constituencies.
The balloting process was running smoothly, as security personnel were positioned outside polling stations, reported the official news agency.

The opposition – comprising Islamists, nationalists and liberals – are boycotting the vote to protest a royal decree amending the electoral law. Under that change, each voter chooses only one candidate, instead of four.

Kuwaiti Emir Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah said the amendment aimed at reforming a “faulty” system and safeguarding national unity.

The opposition says the new rule discriminates against them because, under the old system, they could form alliances during the campaign, which was crucial because political parties are banned.

Around 422,560 Kuwaitis, 53.5 per cent being women, were eligible to vote in more than 600 polling stations across the Gulf country.
The poll is necessary as al-Sabah dissolved parliament in October after the Supreme Court invalidated it.

Polls are scheduled to close at 8pm.