Low turnout predicted in third Kuwaiti election since 2011

July 27, 2013 at 12:31 PM
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KUWAIT CITY, July 27 (UPI) -- Kuwaitis upset by government reform went to the polls Saturday to replace a parliament elected in December 2012 that a court had ruled was unconstitutional.

The election, the third since 2011's Arab Spring, was expected to have a low turnout and produce little change, the Voice of America reported.

More than 300 candidates were competing for 50 seats from five constituencies. They are running on an individual basis, as political parties are outlawed in Kuwait.

A Kuwaiti court ordered the elections in June after declaring the sitting parliament unconstitutional. An opposition-led parliament was dissolved a year ago because of other irregularities.

A change last year that shrank from four to one the number of votes citizens could cast for parliament prompted some of the largest protests in Kuwait's history.

The change, which is still in place, caused some opposition groups to boycott Saturday's election.

Voter turnout was expected to be meager anyway because "some are assuming that this existing parliament to be elected will also not last for more than a year," said Shafeeq, Ghabra, a political science professor at Kuwait University.

While the parliament has relatively strong powers, Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah still has final say over matters of state.

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