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Islamic candidates lose big in Kuwait election

Sunday, July 6, 2003

ABU DHABI Islamist candidates have lost their majority as newcomers appeared to win two-thirds of the seats in parliamentary elections in Kuwait.

Preliminary results released on late Saturday reported that Islamic candidates won nine of the 50 seats in parliament. The outgoing parliament contained 37 members regarded as Islamic fundamentalists.

Islamic parliamentarians have blocked secular reforms in the sheikdom, including the right of women to vote and run for office, Middle East Newsline reported. Many of the parliamentarians have also sought to prevent changes in Islamic education in schools.

Officials said final results will be announced on Sunday. The following day, Kuwait's Cabinet is expected to resign. Islamic groups have accused the government of promoting royalists and liberals during the election campaign in several districts in the sheikdom.

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The groups said that the government coordinated with liberal and independent candidates in an attempt to oust the Islamists from parliament.

Kuwaiti security forces have been on alert and no incidents of major violence were reported.

The preliminary results also showed pro-government challengers beating incumbents for most of the parliamentary seats. According to the results, more than two-thirds of parliament will be filled by new faces.

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