Lower turnout in Kuwait election boycott

Dec. 2, 2012 at 9:20 AM

KUWAIT CITY, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Kuwaiti opposition groups Sunday declared their election boycott a success after a 27 percent turnout, down from 60 percent in the last parliamentary election.

Saturday's election came after Kuwaiti Emir Sheik Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved Parliament in October due to protests that February's election results were invalidated by the constitutional court. He also implemented a new voting law.

Sunni Islamists and tribal Bedouins had made big gains in the February elections and they formed a group calling for the boycott to Saturday's election.

"Despite the government's media campaign to interfere in the electoral process and their clear criticism of the boycott as a peaceful movement ... the ballot boxes came to prove that the majority of the people reject" the elections, the Popular Committee for Boycotting the Election said in a statement reported by CNN.

Despite the group declaring the boycott a success, al-Sabah sent congratulatory messages to Saturday's election winners.

Because of the boycott, the makeup of the 50-member Parliament has been drastically affected, CNN reported.

Shiite candidates took 15 seats, the most they've ever had, and female candidates earned three seats. For the first time in the country's history, representatives from two powerful tribes -- al Mutair and al Awazem -- will not be in the assembly.

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