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Kuwait elects its first women parliamentarians

world Updated: May 17, 2009 23:02 IST
AFP
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Kuwaitis voted for change in the Gulf emirate's second poll in a year, giving women their first seats in parliament and punishing Sunni Islamic groups, according to results released on Sunday.

Four women candidates made history by winning the first female seats in the Kuwaiti parliament, with one of them coming on top of the 10 winners from her district.

Liberals Massuma al-Mubarak, Aseel al-Awadhi and Rula Dashti, besides independent Salwa al-Jassar won seats in the new house. The four women are all US-educated and hold doctorate degrees in political science, economics and education.

Sixteen women were among 210 candidates who stood in the election, the third since 2006.

“This is the will of change of the Kuwaiti people,” MP Mubarak said. "We hope the results will lead to political stability and help achieve the desired cooperation between parliament and government."

The two mainstream Sunni groups, the Islamic Salafi Alliance and the Islamic Constitutional Movement, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, were dealt a heavy blow, winning just three seats versus seven they held in the previous parliament.

The Shiite Muslim minority emerged big winners, almost doubling their strength from five seats to as many as nine.

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