Kuwaitis are heading to the polls today after weeks of protests over electoral reform. It is the second election this year, as a political crisis mounts in the country.
Yesterday opposition activists who are boycotting the elections held a large rally. They complain that new electoral rules will skew the result in favour of pro-government parties.
Previously the electorate could vote for four candidates. This has since been reduced to one. The move by the ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, was taken under emergency powers in the hope of preserving a semblance of security and normality.
Kuwait’s wealth comes from its oil, which accounts for 90 per cent of the economy, and pays for a generous system of benefits for the citizens.
Kuwait is seen as one of the most democratically free countries in the region, and is a major ally of the United States.
Polls opened at 8 am local time, and remain open for twelve hours. 423,000 people are registered to vote, but the turnout will be key for whoever is elected to claim legitimacy.
The state-backed news agency KUNA, has quoted an official saying that results are expected three hours after polls close.