Kuwait is preparing for parliamentary elections for the second time in one year, with the country’s opposition groups planning to boycott the vote.
Voters are expected to pick a 50-seat parliament, the country’s most influential political body, when polls open on July 27. An amended electoral law, approved by the constitutional court last month, has left the country divided in the upcoming elections. The amendment allowed the ruling Al-Sabah family to change the voting rule to one vote per person, instead of the previous four votes per person. The elections come a month after the constitutional court dissolved the loyalist-dominated parliament, citing flaws in the procedures leading to the elections of December 2012. Opposition groups are also angry over the government’s crackdown on protesters and prison sentences handed over to social media activists. Political analysts say that the parliamentary elections will fail to bring political stability to the country as major opposition groups are boycotting the vote. Since May 2006, Kuwait has seen the formation of about a dozen cabinets. Under Kuwait’s 1962 constitution, the ruling Al-Sabah family holds key posts including the premiership and the ministries of defense, interior, and foreign affairs. The opposition is also demanding that the constitution be modified. Last year, protesters stormed the parliament, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah. Although Kuwait was the first Arab state in the Persian Gulf to establish an elected parliament in 1962, the Al-Sabah family has remained in control of key posts. The family has enjoyed unchallenged power for over 200 years.