Election timing renews debate over voters turnout

Kuwait Times
Fecha de publicación: 
15 Jul 2013

With less than two weeks remaining for parliamentary elections set for July 27, the campaign headquarters of nearly 400 registered candidates are still deserted by voters while it was noticed that a notable number of candidates decided against setting up a main center for their campaigns. In this regard, observers said that the unusual lack of voter interest is most likely connected to the fact that this year’s elections are held during the summer and coincide with Ramadan, noting that people are mostly busy with visits that are likely to go on until the tenth day of the holy month. Meanwhile, Al-Qabas daily quoted sources within departments concerned with the election process that the participation level in the elections may reach only 50 percent.

The sources who preferred to keep their identities anonymous mentioned several reasons behind their pessimism regarding the expected turnout which goes against survey results published last Saturday which indicated that participation is set to reach around 55 percent. The reasons include the fact that the temperature is expected to range 50 C degrees on election day, adding to the feeling of fatigue that many voters would feel during a long day of fasting. Furthermore, the sources suggested that election day marks the 19th day of Ramadan, by which point many Kuwaitis would have carried out too much diwaniya visits to be encouraged to endure the trouble of voting.

According to the Kuwaiti law, ballot boxes are required to be open on election day from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. The sources argue that many voters believe that the timing is very unsuitable with Ramadan’s schedule when iftar is at 6:44 pm on voting day. This leaves very little time for people who might prefer to cast their votes after breaking their fast, or female voters who would mostly be too busy preparing for iftar to be able to vote before it.

Meanwhile, the sources note that the vote counting process might take a relatively longer time given the fact that the number of electoral committees has reduced while the number of candidates is comparatively high, in addition to the tight Ramadan schedule. In other news, the Interior Ministry disqualified Sunday ten candidates including former MPs Khalaf Dumaitheer and Khalid Al-Shulaimi. Al-Qabas indicated that Dumaitheer and four other disqualified candidates have already challenged the decision at the administrative court, while Shulaimi and others were expected to follow suit as early as yesterday.