Sunni Islamists double seats, while Shiites fall from 17 to eight
Sunni Islamists doubled their seats in the Kuwaiti National Assembly at an election on Saturday, while the Shiite proportion was cut by more than half.
The snap election, called after the December poll was declared null and void, has dramatically turned the table in the 50-seat Kuwaiti parliament from being Shiite-dominated to far more broad.
With a small number of votes yet to be counted, Shiites looked like winning eight seats, down from 17 in the scrapped assembly.
Sunni Islamists doubled their seats from five to ten, while the more conservative Islamists, Salafists, maintained their two seats.
Small tribes usually marginalised were the big winners. A huge boost in voter turnout from regional areas saw tribes such as Sulaibi, Suhool, Oteibis and Enezi gain power, according to Kuwait Times. Liberals also won three seats.
Majority of the former opposition party, which boycotted the December poll, maintained their boycott on Saturday. However, several who did participate won seats, including Abdullah Al-Turaiji and Riyadh Al-Adasani.
About 60 percent of constituents voted, an increase of about 20 percent, according to Kuwait Times. Much of the increase came from tribal areas.
The higher turnout was surprising amid the fasting month of Ramadan and calls by the opposition to boycott the poll.
The election was Kuwait's sixth since 2006, with a series of assemblies being dissolved over varying constitutional arguments.
The 2009 assembly was first dissolved in December 2011 following street protests led by the opposition.
A new election was held in February the following year but nullified on June 20, 2012, meaning the 2009 assembly was reinstated, only to be nullified again less than four months later.
The Constitutional Court also last month upheld a change that moves the country to a one-vote system, which is controversial among opposition supporters who claim it disadvantages them.
Kuwait has the most open political system in the Gulf, with its 50-member elected assembly having the power to pass legislation and question ministers. However, ultimate authority is with the 84-year old hereditary emir who selects the prime minister who in turn appoints a cabinet. Top portfolios are traditionally held by members of the 250-year old Al-Sabah dynasty.