In spite of political gains for women in 2005, Kuwaiti voters failed to elect any women to parliament in yesterday’s election, though 27 of 250 candidates were women. Kuwaiti women voted in parliamentary elections yesterday for the first time after receiving the right to vote and run for office in May of 2005.
The parliamentary election, which was originally scheduled for 2007, was held yesterday after the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, dissolved the 50-member parliament in May. Political reformists, which included Islamic fundamentalists and secular activists, won thirty-six of the fifty seats, reports the Associated Press.
Though women were only 35 percent of yesterday’s overall turnout, women comprise 57 percent of eligible voters and have the power to exert a strong political force, according to Reuters. Adnan al-Shatti, male parliamentary candidate and a child psychologist, believes that women’s participation will change the way parliament thinks about women’s issues. “All the candidates were forced to consider women’s issues in their campaigns because the women now have a lot of political weight,” Shatti said in an interview with the Washington Post.