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Candidates must prove their sanity: Kuwait MP
February 3, 2014, 9:45 am

Proposed amendments rule out bankrupt traders, naturalised candidates

A Kuwaiti lawmaker has called for amending the country’s electoral law to require candidates to present a certificate on their mental health.

The certificate from a psychiatric hospital proves that the parliament hopeful does not suffer from any mental illness or any form of addiction, MP Nabeel Al Fadhl said, local daily Alam Al Yawm reported on Monday.

The lawmaker suggested that naturalised Kuwaitis should not be allowed to vote or run in the parliamentary elections, saying that the right to cast ballots or to seek a parliament seat should be confined to “original” Kuwaitis, under the first three articles of the citizenship law.

The law defines original Kuwaiti nationals as those who “were settled in Kuwait prior to 1920 and maintained their normal residence there until the date of the publication of this Law.”

Under Article 2, “any person whose father is a Kuwaiti national shall be a Kuwaiti national himself” while Article 3 stipulates that the “Kuwaiti nationality is acquired by any person born in Kuwait and whose parents are unknown.”

According to the lawmaker, any trader who was declared bankrupt by a court of law cannot run for parliament.

A candidate should have at least a university degree, he added.

Under the proposal, Kuwait should be divided into 50 electoral districts and voters elect 50 members, one in each district. Voters can cast their ballot for only one candidate in the district where they are registered.

The candidate with the highest number of votes carries the constituency. In case two candidates get an equal number of votes, the head of the main electoral commission breaks the tie by tossing a coin to determine the winner, Al Fadhl, who won in the last three parliamentary elections, said.

Kuwait is currently divided in five electoral districts based on the country’s governorates. The country had 10 between 1963 and 1975 before a 25-district system was created. In 2006, the parliament voted to have only five districts.

A controversial amendment of the electoral law in 2012 slashed the number of candidates that a voter can elect from four to one.

The amendment was rejected by the opposition as an attempt by the government to reduce its growing influence.

However, the government rejected the charges and insisted that the new system was in line with international election standards.

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