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Kuwait opposition, allies win nearly half of parliament

AFP  |  Kuwait City 

Kuwait opposition groups and their allies had bagged nearly half parliament's 50 seats today, raising fears of fresh political wrangling in the oil-rich state.

The opposition and its allies won 24 seats, according to official announced by the authority.

The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition contested Saturday's after a four-year boycott protesting the government's amendment of the key voting system.

Around half of the successful opposition MPs are Islamists from a Muslim Brotherhood-linked group and Salafists.

Only one woman was elected and the Muslim Shiite minority was reduced to six seats from nine in the previous house. A third of the new are new young members.

The polls saw a turnout of around 70 percent amid divisions over cuts in subsidies due to falling revenues.

Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah called the snap polls after dissolving the previous due to a dispute over raising petrol prices.

Kuwaiti voters dealt a heavy blow to members of the outgoing parliament, retaining only 40 percent of them as two of three cabinet ministers failed in their bid for re-

A majority of those elected have openly said they will oppose any austerity measures by the government to boost non-income.

The government's overwhelming control in the previous assembly has been reduced to a fragile majority.

The majority is because unelected cabinet ministers also become members of parliament, helping to consolidate the grip of the Al-Sabah ruling family on the house.

Unlike other oil-rich Arab states, Kuwait has an elected with powers to hold ministers to account, even though senior members of the ruling family hold all top cabinet posts.

The set-up has led to repeated standoffs between lawmakers and the ruling family and Saturday's vote was the seventh general election in a decade.

But the strength of the opposition allows them to grill ministers and possibly even vote them out of office.

The election comes with Kuwait facing its most acute budget crisis in years. income, which accounts for 95 percent of government revenues, has nosedived by 60 percent over the past two years.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 27 2016. 13:32 IST