- Title: KUWAIT: Vote counting begins in divisive parliamentary election
- Date: 1st December 2012
- Summary: RUMATHAIYA, KUWAIT (DECEMBER 1, 2012) (REUTERS) POLICE PERSONNEL CLOSING DOOR OF VOTE COUNTING OFFICE FIXING OF LOCK ON DOOR OF COUNTING VENUE POLICEMAN NEAR DOOR REPRESENTATIVES OF CANDIDATES CLOSE-UP ON HAND, SEEN WRITING NUMBERS JUDGE COUNTING NUMBER CLOSE-UP ON HAND, SEEN WRITING NUMBERS REPRESENTATIVES OF CANDIDATES CANDIDATES WAITING OUTSIDE VENUE VARIOUS OF FAISAL AL-DOWAISAL, EX-MP AND CANDIDATE IN 2012 ELECTION TALKING CORRIDOR WITH CANDIDATES AND REPRESENTATIVES KUWAITI CITIZENS OUTSIDE COUNTING OFFICE
- Embargoed: 16th December 2012 12:00
- Location: Kuwait
- Country: Kuwait
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA30V5TCEMR8G6ZJ2V1ZLI44U10
- Story Text: At about 8 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) on Saturday (December 1), security personnel locked the doors of ballot centres in Kuwait to begin counting votes in the presence of representatives of the candidates.
Kuwaitis voted in a divisive parliamentary election held under new polling rules that triggered an opposition boycott of the ballot and mass protests.
The election is the second this year in the oil-rich Gulf Arab state, where a series of assemblies collapsed due to a power struggle between elected MPs and the cabinet.
Tens of thousands marched on Friday (November 30) in what organisers said was the largest protest in Kuwaiti history, to urge people to shun the ballot box in protest at a rule change they said will skew the outcome in favour of pro-government candidates.
The ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, used emergency powers in October to cut the number of votes per citizen to one from four and said his decree would fix a flawed system and ensure national unity.
But opposition said the new one-vote system prevented its candidates winning the majority they had in the last vote.
In the past, opposition candidates had called on supporters to cast their additional ballots for allies. They said such informal affiliations were crucial due to a ban on political parties.
Polls opened at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT).
About 423,000 Kuwaitis are eligible to cast ballots to choose the 50 members of parliament.
Officials in polling stations in several districts said turnout appeared lighter than usual, but final figures would only be ready later in the day. Results are expected later in the day, officials said.
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