First Published: 2005-04-19

 
Kuwaiti women set to vote in municipal polls
 

Lawmakers approve in principle law giving Kuwaiti women right to vote, stand for municipal elections.

 

Middle East Online

The step will broaden popular political participation in Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwaiti lawmakers on Tuesday approved in principle a law giving women in the conservative emirate the right for the first time to vote and stand in October's municipal council elections.

A second and final round of voting will take place in two weeks time. If passed, the legislation will be the first of its kind to give Kuwaiti women any political rights.

Those who voted in favour included 13 cabinet ministers present during Tuesday's session, as well as liberal and Shiite MPs. All tribal Islamist lawmakers, who are staunchly opposed to women's rights, voted against the bill.

The bill was passed by 26 votes while 20 MPs cast their ballots against and three abstained.

"This is the first step towards women's full political rights," Rula Dashti, chairwoman of the Kuwait Economic Society, told reporters after the vote.

Pro-women MP Ahmed al-Mulaifi said, "this step will broaden popular political participation in Kuwait."

The municipal council, whose powers are mainly organisational, is a civic body in which 10 of its members are elected while the remaining six are appointed by the emir. It is elected every four years.

Islamist MPs and their tribal allies have been campaigning against women's suffrage on the grounds that Islamic teachings bar women from participating in political life.

Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah favors giving women the vote. In 1999, he issued a decree granting women full political rights but it was narrowly rejected by parliament the same year.

Independent Al-Shall think tank said on March 12 that proposals to enfranchise Kuwaiti women and lower the voting age to 18 would triple the number of voters in the emirate, who currently make up 15 percent of the native population of 956,000.

 

Saudi Arabia replaces powerful intelligence chief

Invisible Bouteflika urges Algerians to vote

British paedophile gets 20-year sentence in Morocco

Washington will not issue visa for Iran UN envoy

Libyan oil returns to export market after 8-month break

Suicide bombs rock Ramadi government compound

Three Palestinians killed in Gaza blast

Algeria finally opens its piggybank to lure back exiled youth

Peace talks delayed after Palestine blamed for fatal shooting

Palestinians clash with Israeli police in Al-Aqsa

Undercover New York police unit that spied on Muslims disbanded

Syria army fights its way into besieged Homs

Benflis mobilizes ‘army’ to monitor Algeria election

Syria army advances on rebel-held neighbourhoods in Homs

Egypt court bans any Brotherhood candidacies in upcoming elections

Turkey rights groups sound alarm at plan to build gay-only prisons

Kuwait coup plot video ‘neither genuine nor reliable’

Iraq Kurdistan digs trench to prevent militant infiltration from Syria

Saudi urges stern world action against Syria

Zarif mission to mend Iran-Gulf ties begins in UAE

Results of Egypt vote appear before time in collection of signatures

South Sudan rebels demand firms end oil production

Jordan court sentences Syrian smugglers to five years in prison

Security concerns force Iraq to shut notorious Abu Ghraib prison

Turkey to social media companies: Open offices and pay taxes

Bashir bans political party meetings without permission

Shoes thrown at Jordan PM for ‘raising prices’

Jordan envoy to Libya abducted

US condemns ‘unconscionable’ threats against Libyan PM

Assailants attack Bahrain police car with Molotov cocktails

Bomb attack targets security checkpoint in Cairo

US takes issue with Assad’s upper hand claim

Militants close Iraq's Euphrates River dam

How did Bouteflika's 15 years in power bring corruption to Algeria?

Libya court adjourns trial of ex-Gathafi officials

Iran complains to UN over US visa ban to chosen envoy

Twitter executives meet Turkish officials amid tax evasion accusations

UN rights chief condemns ‘routine’ use of torture in Syria

Egypt's Sisi officially submits bid for president

Syria completes handover of nearly two-thirds of chemical weapons

Cash-strapped Hamas turns to laser-tech for police training

Syria army retakes ancient Christian town of Maalula

Hezbollah gaining new combat experience in Syria

Algerian nomads begin voting for presidential election

Israel minister slams Kerry on talks with Iran