‘Vote buying’ alleged ahead of NA election – ‘Multimillion-dinar fund’ set up

Kuwait Times
Fecha de publicación: 
09 Jul 2013

Despite governmental promises to tackle irregularities ahead of parliamentary elections set for June 27, several dailies reported yesterday that primaries as well as vote buying activities are taking place in all constituencies. Al-Jarida daily reported that a vote’s price this year ranges between KD 1,000 to KD 2,000 “after the single-vote system cut the ‘supply’ and increased demand”, according to sources with knowledge of the issue.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the sources said that activity has been detected for buying votes through “blocks of 15 to 20 votes for KD 30,000″ in the second and third constituencies. The same daily had reported earlier this week that a group of politicians and people with influence on the decision making process in the state have set up a ‘multimillion-dinar fund’ in order to support certain candidates with hope of securing a loyalist majority in the upcoming parliament.

Yesterday, Al-Jarida added that ‘operators’ of the fund are working on employing an average of 35 persons in each of the first, second and third constituencies. These persons will work as ‘electoral keys’, each of whom can secure thirty votes through vote buying, which they can move in favor of any candidate who would find themselves in need of ‘support’ at any time during election day. As for the fourth and fifth constituencies, the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that people behind the fund are currently contacting winners of tribal primaries “offering their services”.

Concern over vote buying emerged as a main topic of discussion in candidates’ statements Monday, as former MP and minister Ahmad Al-Mulaifi warned of the “spread of political money in the third constituency” where he is running. “People are talking about third constituency candidates who brag about having millions of dinars to buy a parliament seat and people’s willpower,” he said in statements to Al-Rai. He further criticized the government’s “suspicious silence” over the issue and urged the Interior Ministry to investigate the matter and hold vote buyers accountable.

Meanwhile, Al-Qabas quoted observers in a report yesterday who expressed suspicions over the motives of mass appointments the Cabinet announced during its weekly session Monday. A Cabinet source who requested anonymity explained that the decisions came to fill voids created when many senior officials opted to retire before a June 30 deadline to benefit from incentives put to encourage long-standing employees to move over. However, a Civil Service Commission source argued that many appointments did not go through the Civil Service Council, mentioning posts at the health and social affairs ministries in specific.

In other news, the supreme judicial committee that was formed to supervise the election process held a meeting Monday in which judges and public prosecution members were briefed about the latest preparations regarding their work program. The committee’s president and president of the appeals court Ahmad Al-Ujail told Al-Qabas that “all judges on leave have cut their vacations short and will be here one or two days before elections”.