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Ahead of the Kuwaiti Parliament's opening session on Oct. 24, the coalition of tribal and Islamist MPs that forms the current opposition and holds nearly half of Parliament's 50 seats has already articulated its agenda which includes plans to expand the rights of the bidoon (from "bidoon jinsiya" or "without citizenship"), tribal residents of Kuwait who lack citizenship or voting rights. Tribal ties between the bidoon and Kuwait's tribal citizens, however, can explain why opposition MPs are just now taking up the issue. Some members of these tribes were granted citizenship during this period in order to bolster the ruling family's tribal support base and grow the size of Kuwait's security forces. Others were left out of this bargain because they were not part of politically important tribal groups, failed to convince the government they had lived in Kuwait long enough to become citizens, or came to Kuwait to serve in its military and remained in the country after being discharged. In 2015, Kuwait's government had registered 110,729 bidoon in Kuwait. This is even more the case since Kuwait's tribes have moved from supporting the government to being in the opposition after electoral changes from four votes to one vote per person threatened to reduce their representation. Despite the issue's fraught political and social nature, in 2015 Kuwait considered a plan wherein Comoros, in exchange for financial aid, would grant citizenship to 34,000 bidoon, who would remain in Kuwait.
Opposition gains shift Kuwait’s balance of power
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