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No Women Win Office in Kuwait

July 01, 2006|From the Associated Press

KUWAIT CITY — No Kuwaiti women were elected in the country's first parliamentary elections open to them, according to official results released Friday, but candidates backing electoral reform gained seats.

Twenty-seven women and 222 men ran Thursday for the 50 seats, as women voted for the first time.

It was a loss lined with success," said Fatima Abdali, one of the female candidates.

Abdali placed fifth in a field of 14 in the constituency of Deyyah, a suburb of Kuwait City.

"With persistence, we will continue and we will get there," she said.

Although winners were announced in all races, complete vote tallies were not. But newspapers reported that the highest-polling woman was Rola Dashti, a U.S.-educated economist, followed by Nabila Anjari, a former Information Ministry official.

Thirty-six of the incoming legislators have spoken in favor of electoral reform, the issue that led the country's emir to dissolve parliament in May and call the elections.

In the previous assembly, 29 legislators endorsed electoral reform.

The newly elected reformists are a mixed bunch: Islamic fundamentalists, liberals and independents.

Several lawmakers have said that the first order of business for the new parliament must be passing a bill to reduce the number of voting districts from 25 to five.

They believe that fewer but larger constituencies will make it almost impossible for candidates to buy votes.

The lawmakers known to be Islamists maintained their tally of 22 seats in the legislature. Liberals gained one seat for a total of four. The remaining 24 seats were won by independents or candidates associated with tribes.

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