Kuwaiti Women Still Have No Say in Parliamentary Elections

The Kuwaiti Journalist Association held a mock parliamentary election for the women of Kuwait in early July, timed to coincide with the country’s real parliamentary elections. In Kuwait, only men with full citizenship can vote. Kuwaiti women and liberal legislators have been pushing for women’s suffrage for the past 40 years. In 1999, Kuwait’s Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah offered to grant women the right to vote but his recommendation was blocked by Islamists, reports Reuters.

Islamists in Kuwait want the laws to reflect Islamic law, reports the Associated Press. In the recent election, Islamists, both Sunni and Shi’a, took more than one-third of the seats in the 50-seat all-male parliament. After the voting took place there were almost no liberals left with seats; most accounts report that liberals won only 3 seats.

The Kuwati Emir has the final say in legislation, according to the Associated Press. However, parliament still has a great deal of influence and has previously blocked the Emir’s attempts to grant women the right to vote.

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Associated Press 7/6/03, 7/2/03; New York Times 7/6/03; Reuters 7/2/03

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