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.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Jihadists flock to fight on ‘unprecedented scale’

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli