Monday, October 22, 2012
Kuwaiti's protest against changes in electoral law
More than 100 protesters and 11 police have been injured in Kuwait after tens of thousands took to the streets against changes to the electoral law. 'The number of wounded protesters in hospital has exceeded 100 after riot police attacked them,' director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights Mohammad al-Humaidi said on Twitter on Sunday.
The opposition called the demonstration to protest against a decision by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to amend the electoral law. The Kuwaiti cabinet on Saturday amended a controversial electoral law and set a December 1 date for snap polls, sparking angry opposition calls for demonstrations.The cabinet acted on orders from the emir who on Friday said the voting system must be amended immediately to deal with shortcomings in the law and to safeguard national unity against sectarian, tribal and factional tensions.
The electoral constituency law, issued in 2006 after opposition-led protests, divides the country into five electoral districts, each electing 10 MPs to the 50-member parliament. Under that legislation, each eligible voter was allowed to elect a maximum of four candidates. The government's amendment reduces this number to one, the cabinet statement said.
The decision came despite a ruling by the emirate's constitutional court last month that the legislation was in line with the constitution, turning down an appeal by the government.
The opposition claims the change is aimed at electing a rubber-stamp parliament. It has decided to boycott polls called for December 1.'The people want to abolish the decree,' chanted the protesters marching in the street.
The demonstrators were due to march on the Seif Palace which houses offices for the emir, crown prince and prime minister, but were prevented by police.
As the clashes took place, the emir (second from right in the picture) received members of the Al-Sabah ruling family, in power for more than 250 years, who reiterated their loyalty to him, TheKuwait Times reported.