Parliamentary Chamber: Majles Al-Ummah


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  Majles Al-Ummah

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  5 October 1992

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for the 50 elective seats in the restored National Assembly. The previous National Assembly elected in February 1985 had been dissolved in July 1986 and replaced by a National Council in June 1990.

Background and outcome of elections:

  In April 1991, the Amir Sheikh Jaber as-Sabah announced that parliamentary elections would be held in 1992 in fulfilment of a promise made at the October 1990 conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. The election date was definitely set by decree on 27 August 1992.

The elections were contested by 275 candidates in the country’s 25 constituencies. Although all of them officially stood in their individual capacities, political parties having been banned in 1986, most of the candidates belonged to seven political organizations that operated in the place of parties. These included the left-wing Kuwaiti Democratic Forum (KDF), the Arab Nationalists, the Sunnite Islamic Constitutional Movement (close to the Moslem Brotherhood), and the Chiite National Islamic Coalition. In addition to these movements, a group of former parliamentarians of the legislature dissolved in 1986 had come together to form the Constitutional Bloc. Most of these organizations were more or less opposed to the regime in place, while many unaffiliated and tribal candidates were rather pro-government.

The polling took place 19 months after the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. The election campaign was thus dominated by security concerns. Many candidates sharply criticized the Government’s attitude in the run-up to the invasion and during the occupation. The Government’s management of the country’s oil revenue and economy as a whole also came in for strong criticism. Moreover, there were demands for more devolution of power form the Government and ruling dynasty to the legislature. A number of candidates further questioned the wisdom of disenfranchising Kuwaitis who could not trace their ancestry to 1920, as well as women; this resulted in limiting qualified voters to a mere 14% of the country’s nationals.

Voting was peaceful although there were orderly demonstrations by women protesting against the denial of their participation. The elections were generally considered free and fair although no foreign observers had been allowed. Voter turnout was officially put at 85%.

The results saw the victory of many candidates opposed to the Government. At least 31 of the 50 seats were won by opposition candidates. Many candidates of the Constitutional Bloc won seats while the Islamic religious candidates also performed well, winning at least 19 seats. Worthy of mention was the political comeback of the Chiite Moslems.

On 12 October, the Amir re-appointed the Crown Prince Sheik Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah as Prime Minister. The latter, on 17 October, appointed a 16-member Cabinet in which six Ministries went to opposition members of the National Assembly. This was the first time the opposition was entering the Government. It had been one of their principal demands during the campaign.

On 20 October, the National Assembly elected an opposition member, Mr. Ahmed al-Saadun, as Speaker. He had previously been Speaker of the dissolved legislature.

Round no 1 (5 October 1992): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 81,440
Voters 85% (approx.)

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 50
Women: 0

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Copyright 1992 Inter-Parliamentary Union