Middle East

Kuwait MPs pass controversial electoral decree

Demonstrators carry placards during a protest in Kuwait City January 6, 2013. REUTERS/Stephanie Mcgehee

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the controversial electoral decree that caused the opposition in the oil-rich Gulf state to boycott the December 1 general elections.

Forty-nine lawmakers voted for the decree issued by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah in October after he dissolved the previous parliament. Two MPs voted against the decree while three others abstained.

Under the constitution, the Kuwaiti ruler can issue legislation in emergency situation when parliament is dissolved or in recess. These decrees must be passed by parliament to become laws, however.

The decree amended the key electoral law to allow voters to pick only one candidate instead of four in the previous law. Each of Kuwait's five electoral constituencies elects 10 MPs.

The opposition boycotted the polls saying the amendment allows the government to manipulate the outcome of the election.

The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition totally boycotted the polls and staged several demonstrations to press for repealing the amendment. It also staged protests to demand dissolving the new parliament.





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