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.

 

Libya parliament rejects Sarraj’s unity government

Prominent Morocco Islamists rapped over 'sex on beach'

Russian stops using Iran airbase for raids on IS in Syria

UN aid chief warns of 'unparalleled' catastrophe in Aleppo

Value of Syrian pound falls sharply against US dollar

Israel raids West Bank arms factories

Morocco posts fall in foreign tourist arrivals

Turkey cuts interest rates defying inflation jump

Syria regime, Kurds agree Hasakeh truce

Iran says it requested Russian strikes on Aleppo

Turkey shells IS positions in Syria

UN braces for massive flight from Mosul

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes

Palestinian suspect in police killings beaten to death

Iraq forces launch push to retake town south of Mosul

Yemen army looks to break Taez siege amid deadly battles

Jordan to allow more Syrian children access to education

Tunisia parliament sets date for unity government vote

Iraq forces foil attack by teenage bomber

Israel launches 'dozens' of Gaza strikes

Turkey says Syria border region must be 'cleansed' of IS jihadists

Turkey authorities scramble to identify child bomber

Libya forces seize more IS ground in Sirte

Sisi says Putin ready to revive Palestine/Israel talks

Jihadist asks Malians for 'forgiveness' for Timbuktu attacks

Iran criticize Russia’s ‘show off’ on airbase use

Ennahda 'has reservations' on Tunisia unity govt

In sharp reversal, Trump pitches softer line on immigration

Syria regime, Kurds agree truce after Russian mediation

Checkpoint attack leaves two policemen dead north of Cairo

ISIS child bomber kills 50 at Turkish wedding

No injuries as Gaza rocket crashes into centre of Israeli city

Tunisia premier-designate announces nominees for new government

Moroccan King calls on diaspora to defend tolerant form of Islam

Iran unveils new Bavar 373 missile defence system

Kurds advance in Hasakeh after Russia talks fail

Iraq hangs 36 over 2014 Speicher massacre

More than 10 dead in twin blast in Somalia town

Turkey vows 'more active' role in Syria

UN uses World Humanitarian Day to plead for Libya aid

Turkey hopes for improved relations with Egypt

Syria warplanes fly over Hasakeh again despite US warning

US cuts military advisers to Arab coalition in Yemen

Turkish parliament approves deal to normalise ties with Israel

Car bomb targets busy intersection in Mogadishu