Last Updated: Sat Oct 20, 2012 17:21 pm (KSA) 14:21 pm (GMT)

Kuwaiti cabinet sets December 1 for snap polls

The Kuwaiti cabinet has amended article 2 of the electoral law to change the voting system and set the date for snap polls to be on December 1. (Reuters)
The Kuwaiti cabinet has amended article 2 of the electoral law to change the voting system and set the date for snap polls to be on December 1. (Reuters)

The Kuwaiti cabinet on Saturday amended a controversial electoral law and set December 1 as the date for snap polls, acting on orders from the emir.

“The cabinet approved the amendment of article 2 of the electoral law to change the voting system ... and approved a decree to invite voters to elect a new national assembly on December 1,” it said in a statement.

The snap polls are the second this year and the fifth since mid-2006 as parliament has repeatedly been dissolved due to political disputes.

The electoral constituency law, issued in 2006 after opposition-led protests, divides the country into five electoral districts, each electing 10 MPs to the 50-member parliament.

Under the legislation, each eligible voter is allowed to elect a maximum of four candidates and the government amendment reduced this number to one, the cabinet statement said.

The two draft decrees will be effective when Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah issues them, likely in the coming few days.

The cabinet acted on orders from the emir who on Friday said the voting system must be amended immediately to deal with shortcomings in the law and to safeguard national unity against sectarian, tribal and factional tensions.

Almost all opposition groups and around 50 former MPs have condemned the decision and decided to boycott the election.

The opposition also called on the Kuwaiti people to demonstrate on Sunday against the decision as the interior ministry warned it will forcefully prevent any illegal protests.

Kuwait, an OPEC member pumping around 3.0 million barrels per day, has been rocked by almost non-stop political crises since 2006 that have resulted in the cabinet resigning nine times and parliament dissolved on six occasions.

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