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 King sets up new state security agency

Hezbollah launches Syria border operation

Intensifying Jihadist-rebel clashes in Syria's Idlib

Police fire tear gas to disperse Morocco protest

Foreign food chains hoping for taste of Iran market

Three Palestinians shot dead in Jerusalem

Nearly 360 injured in Turkey by magnitude 6.7 quake

UN says Saudi to blame for deadly Yemen strike on civilians

Germany reviews arms sales to Turkey

China calls for Gulf crisis talks

Israel bars men under 50 from Jerusalem Old City prayers

Rebel ambush kills 28 regime fighters near Damascus

Turkey slams 'dangerous' Cyprus energy plans

Saudi prince 'arrested over leaked abuse videos'

Israel boosts 'security measures' as Al-Aqsa tensions simmer

Kuwait expels Iranian diplomats over 'terror' cell

Germany vows to overhaul Turkey ties as row escalates

Home cooked meals a relief for fighters in Syria's Raqa

US maintains designation of Iran as top 'state sponsor'

US halting support for Syria rebels

30 civilians dead in anti-IS strikes in Syria

Palestinian civilians urge ICC to speed up probe

Turkey PM opts for stability in light cabinet reshuffle

UN aid flight carrying journalists barred from Yemen

Former IS slaves fight for revenge in Raqa

US, Iran trade tit-for-tat sanctions

20 Yemeni civilians killed in air strike

14 killed in opposition infighting in Syria's Idlib

Morocco sentences 25 to prison over W. Sahara killings

Egypt police kill top militants

Heavy rainfall hits Istanbul causing transport chaos

Palestinians protest Israeli security measures at Al-Aqsa compound

Saudi police question woman who wore miniskirt

Rebels, US-backed Kurds clash in northern Syria

Netanyahu says Hungary is 'standing up for' Israel

Lebanon army to launch operation near Syria border

Morocco delays currency reform amid speculation

Iran parliament vows to fight US 'adventurism'

4 killed in suicide car bomb at Kurdish checkpoint in Syria

Israel opposes Syria truce deal over Iran presence

Egypt to end visas on arrival for Qatari citizens

Erdogan to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia

Turkey court refuses to free six rights activists

Trump keeps Iran deal, but sanctions will stay in place

UAE FM warns Qatar is 'undermining' GCC allies