By B Izzak
KUWAIT: A number of candidates welcomed an announcement by the interior ministry that it had stormed a house where a candidate was organizing vote-buying in the second constituency. The ministry said in a statement that it had arrested an unspecified number of people and confiscated large amounts of money that were being prepared to be distributed to voters to secure their votes.
The ministry statement gave no details on the name of the candidate, but local media said he is a former MP bidding for re-election from the constituency. Opposition MPs and political groups had repeatedly charged that many corrupt lawmakers had won their seats through bribing voters and had also accused authorities of not taking strong measures against violators. The government had earlier stormed a house where people were organizing outlawed tribal primaries and arrested over a 100 people and referred them to court.
Candidate Thamer Al-Abdali, contesting in the fourth constituency, thanked the interior ministry for busting the voting-buying incident and urged authorities to intensify their crackdown on this illegal phenomenon. Former MP Ahmad Al-Azemi, bidding for re-election in the fifth constituency, said vote-buying phenomenon spread in various electoral constituencies in a way that is threatening the fairness of the election on Sept 29. He added the illegal practice has in the past helped many corrupt people win seats in the Assembly.
Former MP Abdullah Al-Mudhaf, running in the first constituency, said corruption in the country is operating in an organized way, adding forces of reform must unify to confront corruption. He also called for distribution of roles between the Assembly and the government to fight corruption.
Former MP Adel Al-Damkhi, contesting the election from the first constituency, said the “corruption establishment” has not vanished yet. “Some people are plotting to disrupt the next Assembly and damage the new era in the country,” he charged. He said he believes Kuwaiti voters have the ability to distinguish between reformist and corrupt candidates.
Candidate Alia Al-Khaled, contesting from the second constituency, called for the activation of legislation that provides protection to women against domestic violence. The candidate was commenting on a video circulating on social media showing a man mercilessly beating and kicking his wife in public for allegedly starting work without his approval.
The man was arrested and referred for investigations. Khaled also called for issuing more legislation to provide additional protection for women from domestic violence, adding domestic violence cases have increased due to the lack of legal protection.