Sunday Dec 02, 201207:14 PM GMT
Kuwaiti opposition loses parliamentary majority over boycott
Ballots are counted at a polling station after closure of voting in the Sabah al-Salem district on the outskirts of Kuwait city on Dec 1, 2012.
Ballots are counted at a polling station after closure of voting in the Sabah al-Salem district on the outskirts of Kuwait city on Dec 1, 2012.
Sun Dec 2, 2012 7:12PM
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The Kuwaiti opposition has lost majority in 50-seats parliament after they boycotted the polls which reduced their representation from 36 to four.


Kuwait’s Shia minority emerged as main victors of the parliamentary election by winning an unprecedented 17 seats.

Shias make up about 30 percent of the Persian Gulf country’s population. They had seven seats in the previous parliament.

The new parliament has three women and as many as 30 new faces due to the opposition boycott.

The opposition on Sunday called the newly-elected parliament unconstitutional and has vowed to press on with protests until it is abolished and a disputed electoral law scrapped.

"We will continue with our national and peaceful protests under the umbrella of the constitution to bring the downfall of the new parliament," said Islamist opposition leader and former MP Faisal al-Muslim.

The opposition decided to boycott the election to protest against the government's unilateral amendment of Kuwait's key electoral law, which cut the number of candidates a voter could elect from four to one.

Election officials said the turnout was about 39%, but the opposition claimed that voter turnout was less than 27 percent. It was the second parliamentary election held in Kuwait in a year.

In June, the Constitutional Court annulled the elections held in February, in which the opposition made significant gains by winning almost two thirds of seats, and reinstated the previous assembly, loyal to the ruling family.

The move sparked months of protests in the country, forcing Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah to order the dissolution of that parliament and announcing new elections.

HM/JR/SS
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