Ten back in, 3 out of Kuwait poll fray.

Pundits predict 24 new faces

The Court of Cassation on Thursday canceled the decision of the Elections Affairs Committee to disqualify 10 candidates, while it upheld the disqualification of three other candidates.

According to the final verdict of the court, the candidates who are back to the electoral race include Badr Al-Dahoum (Fifth Constituency), Talal Dashti (First Constituency), Nadia Al-Othman (Third Constituency), Fadel Asad (Fifth Constituency), Fadel Al-Dabbous (Second Constituency), Salah Al-Hashem (Third Constituency), Yousef Al-Gharaballi (First Constituency), Hani Husain (Fifth Constituency), Ibrahim Dashti (Third Constituency) and Ahmed Al-Khashnam (Third Constituency) The candidates who are out of the race include Ayed Bu Khousa (Fifth Constituency), Anwar Al-Fekr(Fourth Constituency) and Khalid Al-Neif Al-Mutairi (Fifth Constituency).

In a related development, the campaign period ends Friday – one day before the elections. The Elections Law prohibits candidates and the media from publishing press statements or reports on the candidates once the campaign period is over in order to avoid influencing the opinion of voters. The electoral campaign reached its climax Thursday when the candidates tried their best to convey their last message to the voters; stressing that they will adopt the most ideal position on important issues, combat corruption and support the demands of citizens.

Moreover, the Ministry of Interior is fully prepared to receive the voters at the polling stations in the five constituencies. In a bid to facilitate procedures for voters, the ministry installed temporary fences and signboards specifying the entry and exit points in the schools which will be used as polling centers. The ministry also posted reminders for the citizens to strictly comply with health regulations, in view of the fact that this election is being held during the COVID- 19 crisis.

In addition, the Public Relations and Security Media General Department in the Ministry of Interior appealed to all registered voters to visit the Passports and Immigration Affairs General Department on Saturday to obtain their citizenship documents in case their original documents are lost or damaged.

The voting hours are from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturday, during which citizens are required to present their original nationality certificate in order to vote.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Health allotted 107 integrated clinics, one isolation room in every polling station, 114 nurses, 558 medical services technicians and 47 ambulances for the elections.

Inspectors from the Public Health Department, Infectious Diseases and Food Safety departments will be present in each polling station. Employees involved in the elections are required to undergo the necessary medical procedures to ensure they are not infected with COVID-19. The ministry then appealed to the citizens to strictly comply with the health regulations for their own safety.

Meanwhile, the Secretariat General of the National Assembly has affirmed the completion of preparations for receiving the ballots boxes. In a press statement, Chairman of the Delivery and Receipt Committee Ali Al- Ali revealed the Secretariat General of the Assembly will receive the ballots immediately after the announcement of the 2020 parliamentary elections.

He cited Articles 36 and 39 of the Elections Law, which mandates the Secretariat General to receive the ballots boxes from the Ministry of Interior under the supervision of court judges. He said the ballots boxes will be sealed tightly after checking them carefully to make sure there are no damages, indicating the ballots boxes will be recorded as per the constituencies and polling precincts.

He added the ballots boxes will remain in the custody of the National Assembly until the issuance of a decision on the complaints of candidates regarding the election results, if any. He also disclosed that Secretary General of the Assembly Allam Al-Kandari formed the 13-member committee, which consists of those who worked in similar committees earlier. He added the committee is keen on abiding by the health regulations such as wearing face masks and gloves. The political observers and analysts are in relative agreement about the outlook of the next National Assembly structure, which is expected to elect 17 candidates from the outgoing 2016 National Assembly while 9 others remain in strong contention.

This possibility – according to analysts and observers – remains conditional to at least 60 percent of the total number of voters (567,694) male and female in all constituencies casting their ballots putting aside fears of being infected by the virus, which means a change in the composition of the 2020 National Assembly by between 48 and 66 percent, while the chances of female candidates winning the polls remain very low this time around, with the exception of one female candidate, whose success will be determined by the rates and percentages of the voters. According to the analysts, 3 current deputies are very close to winning the parliamentary seat again from the first constituency, with a relatively less chance for two others, while five out of eight other candidates in the constituency are likely to win, some of whom were former deputies.

In the second constituency, analysts expect the return of four current MPs, with strong competition for the other two, and the possible entry of four new ones. In the third district observers point out three candidates are almost certain to retaining their seats and a strong competition between two others, and the possibility of five new entrants.

As for the fourth constituency, observers predict victory for three outgoing deputies, with strong competition between two others, and the likelihood of five new faces making it to the Abdullah Salem Hall. As for the fifth constituency, four contestants are close to resuming their seats, strong competition for the fifth and five new members. Kuwait’s Cabinet, chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah discussed Thursday the upcoming parliamentary elections latest arrangements and preparations.

The Cabinet called on all candidates and voters to cooperate with the Ministry of the Interior and other concerned parties with the need to adhere to the provisions of private law under the COVID-19 pandemic unusual circumstance.

Furthermore, Minister of Health Dr Sheikh Bassel Al-Sabah briefed the meeting on the latest development concerning the coronavirus in Kuwait. On the other hand, Minister of Social Affairs, Minister of State for Economic Affairs Maryam Aqeel shed light on the plan of the first quarter for 2020/2021 after its adoption by the Supreme Council for Planning and Development.

The Cabinet expressed its appreciation for the efforts made in following up the implementation of the annual development plan, and assigned Minister Al-Aqeel to refer it to the National Assembly. Minister of Oil and the Acting Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Khaled Al-Fadhel briefed the Cabinet with the measures taken to deal with the recommendations contained in the first report of the Parliamentary Investigation Committee regarding what was raised about the abuses in the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

Source- Arab Times.


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