In a surprising move, the National Assembly's interior and defense committee approved in principle a draft law calling to convert Kuwait into a single electoral constituency. Kuwait is currently divided into five constituencies. The approval of the bill is still pending and is expected to be the subject of intense debates.
The distribution of voters in the five electoral districts had come under fire from many MPs and groups who claimed it lacked justice because of the sharp discrepancies in the number of voters. For example, the number of voters in the second constituency in this year's elections was 43,400 voters while in the fifth constituency the number was about 110,000 voters. Each constituency elects 10 MPs regardless of the number of voters.
20 October 2009
Analysis and Forecast: increasing risk
The issue of the number of constituencies in Kuwait is a very sensitive issue that has led to clashes between parliament and the government several times, and has in fact been the direct result of the dissolution of parliament in 2006. All sides agree that the Kuwaiti electoral system requires a revamp, including a redistribution of constituency boundaries but also accompanied by political reforms. At the moment, there are no officially recognized political parties. If the aim of the current moves is to be a step in wider political reforms, then they should be accompanied by allowing political groupings to take part in the elections. However, this is not currently the case and it is therefore expected that the move will reignite the issue of the electoral law and be another area of potential conflict between the government and parliament.