A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kuwait: Consolidate to a Single Electoral Constituency?

This story could be, if it actually happens, extremely important. A committee of the Kuwaiti Parliament has approved a move towards creating a single electoral constituency. Currently there are five constituencies, and critics say the system is gerrymandered to support pro-government/tribal political blocs. As the article itself notes, earlier versions have had anywhere from 10 to 25 constituencies.

As far as I can think of off the top of my head, the only Middle Eastern electoral system that has a national-level constituency with no geographic districts is, well, Israel.

Worth watching, though of course little may actually come of it.


LJ Marczak said...

Three other interesting Kuwaiti political trends to watch are the "Group of 26", a proposal for debt relief for Kuwaitis, and a movement for tawtin (granting citizenship) to the bidun (stateless Arabs living in the State of Kuwait).

"Al-26" as they are known in Arabic are a group of prominent Kuwaitis who are pushing a self-styled reform agenda.

As usual with movements of this sort, Al Qabas has more column inches and more sympathetic coverage.



For those who don't read Arabic, here's a recent article from Kuwait Times.


David Mack said...

Iraq in January 2005 also had a single constituency with closed electoral lists. The result was a disaster, as the election turned into a census of ethnic and sectarian identity. But most of the existing blocs in the Iraqi parliament like the system as it is, since it makes it easier for the MPs in those blocs to succeed themselves. To date, the parliament has still not passed a new election law providing for something else, and time is running out. I suspect that Iraqi MPs are acting on similar self interests.