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Low Turnout in Kuwait's 13th Municipal Council Elections

Low Turnout in Kuwait's 13th Municipal Council Elections

Sunday, 22 May, 2022 - 09:15
Voters wait in line during Kuwait's Municipal Council elections (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Kuwait's 13th Municipal Council elections were held on Saturday amid tight security preparations, with 38 candidates competing in eight constituencies.

Male and female voters went to the polls to elect eight members of the Municipal Council, as only one candidate applied in each of the seventh and tenth constituencies, putting them automatically among the winning members.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmed al-Nawaf said the Municipal Council elections are a manifestation of democracy and a boost to the role of civil society in development and advancement.

It is an embodiment of positive communication between the leadership and the people and a vivid example of the effective participation of citizens in shaping their present and completing their future path, he said.

The elections to select 10 out of 38 candidates for the 16-seat council were held in 443 committees distributed over 76 schools in eight electoral constituencies. The government will appoint the remaining six members within 15 days of the elections.

There are 438,283 registered male and female voters, according to the voter lists for the year 2021.

The term of the council will be four years from the date of its first meeting, and the council must be called to convene within 15 days from the date of issuance of the decree of the appointed members.

Justice Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Integrity Jamal al-Jalawi affirmed that the Municipal Council elections are going smoothly.

Turnout was low on Saturday afternoon, and Jalawi expected an increase in voter turnout in the coming hours.

He added that about 894 electoral committees, noting that all reports indicated that the process is running smoothly.

A statement issued by the General Department of Security Relations and Media at the ministry announced that the Undersecretary, Lieutenant-General Anwar al-Barjas, toured the electoral committees.

Barjas stressed the need to exert all efforts to help voters, especially the elderly and people with special needs, to cast their votes.

Kuwait's Municipal Council helps draw up the general policies, set plans, and decide on projects related to urban, environmental, and health issues.

Kuwait Municipality was established in 1930, during which Kuwaiti citizens had a chance to elect their representatives in the Municipal Council, a historical development within the Kuwait community.

Since its independence on June 19, 1961, Kuwait has witnessed 12 Municipal Council elections. The first was held in June 1964.

The 9th Municipal Council was elected on June 2, 2005, which was the first-time women ran for council seats. Three days later, the government appointed two women as members of the council: Assistant Undersecretary at the Amiri Diwan Fatma al-Sabah and Fawziya al-Bahar.

None of the female candidates won the first-ever women's participation in the municipal elections, but they were appointed in 2005, 2009, and 2018 councils.

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