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Volume :14 Issue : 1 1986      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Sixth Parliamentary Election in Kuwait (1985): A political Analysis

Auther : Abdul-Reda Assiri – Kamal Al-Monoufi

The research paper reviews, assesses and analyzes the Sixth national assembly’s election held in Kuwait in February, 1985. The researchers posited three hypotheses to be tested:

1) Election in a changing society ia a sort of “push-and pull” and it brings to the surface tension between traditional and modern elements and forces. Quality of candidates and their electrical platforms, methods and election outcomes are a microcosm of such conflict between old and new.

2) Non-interference by government in the electoral processes and an official guarantee of reasonable freedom raise citizens participation in the electioneering, and increase voter turnout and this is a reflection of the ideological polarization in the society.

3) Involvement and competition of the public in the electioneering is greater among the more educated class than among the less educated, greater among people of high professional status than among those of lower status, greater among youth than among older citizens, and greater among socially active elements than among less active elements.

We utilized diverse types of statistical data information, including all written materials on the issue published in the Kuwait press in the pre-and-post-election periods. Overall, the election of 1985 was characterized by high voter turnout, 48,368 persons or about 85% of the registered voters. Two hundred thirty-one candidates ran for thr 50 seats in the National Assembly. The renewal trends in the faces of the new assembly members were as follows:

44% had been members of the 5th assembly .

42% were first timers.

14% had served in earlier parliaments.

Moreover, about 80% of the members are of young and middle-aged groups (30-49) years old. Educationally speaking, 46% of the members are university graduates, 36% are high-school graduates, and the remainder have less than high school education.

The conclusions verify our three hypotheses qualitatively and quantitatively. Furthermore, in order to broaden the participatory mode of government in Kuwait, and make the national assembly more representative of the citizens, the authors make the following proposals:

1) Extend voting rights to women, citizens who are 18 years old, and naturalized citizens.

2) Prohibit extra-legal tribal or sectarian “primary” elections.

3) Reapportion election districts to make a balanced distribution in these in these districts.

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