Kuwaiti Cabinet allows international monitors

Kuwait Times
Fecha de publicación: 
16 Jul 2013

The Council of Ministers yesterday agreed to allow a team of international monitors to observe the July 27 elections in cooperation with Kuwait Transparency Society. The Cabinet said after its weekly meeting that the decision was taken to ensure that standards of transparency and fairness are completely applied at the next election.

Kuwait had in the past allowed access to international monitors to attend parliamentary election after non-governmental organizations (NGOs) volunteered to monitor the polls. But the government decision was criticized by some because they blamed the government of ignoring allegations of wide-spread vote-buying in all the five constituencies amid reports that multi-million-dinar funds have been set up to finance certain candidates.

The Interior Ministry has however denied rumors that authorities have caught a number of vote-buying cases and insisted that a special security team was monitoring the situation. The ministry also urged all those who have any information on vote-buying cases to report them to the authorities. Opposition leader and former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak and Al-Jarida newspaper said last week that at least two funds with KD18 million have been set up by influential people to ensure the success of 25 MPs of their supporters in a bid to control the next Assembly.

They even provided details that the funds have earmarked KD5 million to ensure the election of the next Assembly Speaker from their supporters. Member of the scrapped February 2012 National Assembly Mohammad Al-Dallal however claimed that the aim of some members of the recently dissolved Assembly is to work against Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah. Dallal said that the wide-spread use of political money in the election aims at buying loyalty of some MPs to influence the next government.

In the meantime, activists opposed to the election because of the amendment of the electoral law are planning to launch the National Boycott Committee with the aim to urge voters to boycott the election. The activists plan to hold their first conference to announce the launch of the committee in Sabahiya later today.

In December election, similar efforts by youth activists and former MPs backed by political groups succeeded in making the voter turnout a record low with 40 percent according to the government and around 25 percent according to the opposition. But this election, the picture looks very different. In December election, most of the boycott came from the country’s major tribes who have decided to participate this time.

Accordingly, observers expect a higher turnout but this may be subdued by the weather conditions with temperatures expected to soar to 50 degrees Celsius on the Election Day. The election timings of between 8-8 remain unchanged and that voters will be fasting. Candidates meanwhile have slowly started their election campaigns with a very low turnout reported so far. But turnout at election campaigns is expected to pick up in the coming days.

By B Izzak