Elections 2016Kuwait

47 candidates disbarred from contesting election

Hopefuls to challenge decisions in court

KUWAIT: The legal committee reviewing applications filed by candidates to contest the National Assembly polls later this month decided yesterday to bar 47 candidates from the race due to a variety of reasons. A number of candidates said they were informed by the committee of its decision and vowed they will challenge the decision today at the administrative court.
The list includes former opposition MPs Bader Al-Dahoum and Safa Al-Hashem, the only member of the ruling family to contest, Sheikh Malek Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, and controversial former MP Abdulhameed Dashti, who has been sentenced to 31 years and six months in jail.

Dahoum said on his Twitter account the election authority decided to ban him from contesting the Nov 26 polls without stating any reason. He said he will immediately challenge the decision. Dahoum’s lawyer Adel Abdulhadi said his client was barred over an apparently minor reason and he plans to fight it in court.

Hashem, a member of the dissolved house before she resigned over a year ago, said she received a letter informing her that she cannot run due to a court verdict against her. She said she will fight the ban. Hashem was previously convicted of slander against former Islamist opposition MP Mubarak Al-Duwailah and was fined KD 150. Duwailah said he does not wish to see any candidate barred for minor verdicts.

Sheikh Malek made no comment on the decision to exclude his candidacy. He was the only ruling family member to file his nomination papers. Dashti, who has been living outside Kuwait since March, managed last week to obtain a court order to allow his son to file nomination papers on his behalf. The government has appealed against the order, and yesterday the appeals court said it will issue its verdict on the case next Tuesday.

The government lawyer told the court that Dashti must submit his own nomination papers in person, and accordingly he must be present at the election department. Dashti’s lawyer submitted at the court a medical certificate showing that he was receiving medical treatment and could not travel. Other candidates who were barred include controversial former MP Mohammad Al-Juwaihel.

Of the candidates barred, 31 were banned because they had been convicted in court, while the remaining 16 did not complete required procedures. They can all challenge the decision in court and get orders to be re-registered. A total of 454 candidates, including 15 females, filed applications to contest the 50-seat Assembly polls scheduled for Nov 26.

Candidates have already begun their election campaigns, with many focusing on the economy and subsidies, security issues and relations with Iran in addition to corruption and the form of the next government. The return of a majority of the opposition groups and individuals is certain to make the polls highly competitive.

By B Izzak

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