Sat, Feb 04, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Early Kuwait vote count indicates opposition gains


Early results of a snap election in Kuwait pointed to gains by opposition candidates in the Gulf state’s fourth parliament in six years

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah called the vote in December after dissolving the chamber in response to a deepening political deadlock that has stymied reform and held up vital development projects in the key oil-exporting state.

Sixty-two percent of Kuwaitis cast their ballots on Thursday, up slightly from 58 percent in the previous election in 2009. Initial results were expected yesterday morning.

Opposition candidates and former members of parliament (MP) who spearheaded a movement to oust Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed Al Sabah have been tipped to expand their influence in parliament, riding a wave of frustration at the impasse and perceived corruption.

“There’s obviously more traction now for the opposition groups. You have kind of a momentum,” Risk Advisory Group senior adviser Shahin Shamsabadi said.

That anger came to a head in November when protesters led by opposition MPs stormed the assembly demanding the resignation of Sheikh Nasser, whom they accused of graft. They got their way soon afterward, when the emir dismissed his Cabinet.

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