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Election results ‘shake up’ Kuwaiti national assembly; women-conservative Islamists win seats

The 50-member assembly gains 27 new members following Kuwait’s second election in less than two years. In the midst of a protracted impasse between the government and parliament, the vote was seen as a cry for change. Compared to other organisations in the area, the democratically elected assembly is more independent. Among the recently elected members are two women, two conservative Islamists, and other hopefuls.

The Islamist opposition has called for gender segregation in schools and a ban on mixed-dance parties. But experts say such social reforms could lead to divisions among those pushing for reform. Polls suggest that accusations of government corruption may have influenced voters’ decisions.

Two other women were also elected in the most recent elections, which took place in 2020, after the assembly’s sole female representative lost her seat. Kuwaiti women are growing increasingly enraged that the government has not implemented laws safeguarding them against assault and so-called ‘honour killings,’¬†which are a conservative society’s norm. About a dozen of the 27 new members will have experience from prior assemblies. The Al Sabah family continues to wield a significant amount of political power; they have the authority to dissolve the assembly at any moment and choose the prime minister and Cabinet.

Since the former emir’s death, the protracted political standoff in Kuwait has gotten worse. After being interrogated by MPs over possible malfeasance, ministers have resigned out of frustration. 13,500 American service men reside in Kuwait, which also boasts the sixth-largest known oil reserves in the world.

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