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Kuwaiti women vote first time in elections

Written by: Staff
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Kuwait City, June 29 (UNI) Braving scorching heat, thousands of jubilant Kuwaiti women today queued up at polling stations to exercise their franchise, first time in the gulf nation's history, to elect 50 representatives for Parliament.

Women in colourful dresses, particularly in tribal belts, went to the polling booths early in the morning to cast thier ballots, following dissolution of house by the Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed in May last over electoral reforms. Most of the women were however, accompanied by the male members of the family.

The scenes in cities were however, different with the most of the women coming in luxury cars to the polling booths.

More than 250 candidates, including 28 women, are contesting the polls, which witnessed aggressive campaigning by the candidates in the last few days, Mohammed Al Badah, Director of Kuwait Information Centre told UNI.

''Women will make difference in the history of parliamentary elections in Kuwait. In every constituency, they are in majority and will have greater role in electing their representatives'', he added.

Mr Badah said that there are 340,000 voters and 57 per cent of them are women. ''It seems that women role in the election has become more important and decisive,'' he noted.

This is the first elections in the independent Kuwait's 45 year history in which women are allowed to vote. Some women candidates, however, admit that odds are against them as they got little time for campaigning because of sudden announcment of elections.

However, most of them expressed satisfaction. ''This is something we have been looking for many many years. I had my own belief that one day we will get franchise right, said Ms Salwa Saeed.'' Kuwaiti women won their long fight for suffrage and to run for office last year and they have quickly risen from political non-entities to the most sought after voters.

UNI XC SB RAI1848

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