Kuwait vote hands Islamist-led opposition more seats

February 3, 2012 12:45

KUWAIT - Kuwait's Islamist-led opposition made significant gains in a snap election, while women candidates did not win a single seat in the Gulf state's fourth parliament in six years, official results of the ballot showed on Friday.

The country's ruler, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, called the vote in December after dissolving the chamber in response to a deepening political deadlock that has stymied reform and held up vital development projects in the key oil-exporting country.

Riding a wave of frustration at the political impasse as well as perceived corruption, opposition candidates took as many as two thirds of the assembly's 50 seats, eroding slightly the position of Shi'ite parliamentarians, who on the whole had sided with the previous government.

That could give the opposition an upper hand, even though the 15 appointed cabinet ministers, drawn mainly from the ranks of the ruling Sunni al-Sabah family, can vote in the parliament, providing a bloc that has typically been used to dilute opposition or swing a majority in the assembly.

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