Kuwait: women fail to take a single seat in parliamentary elections

Names of winners in Thursday's public vote published by the state-owned Kuwait News Agency indicated that 36 of those who won seats in the 50-seat house were reformers. Twenty-one of them held seats in the previous parliament that the emir, Kuwait's ruler, dissolved last month.

For the 27 female candidates, from the 249 hopefuls who ran in the polls, the results were disappointing as none took enough votes to land a seat in the legislature. The comprehensive vote count had not been released, making it impossible to assess how close any of the women came to a victory.

Several returning lawmakers said the first order of business for the new parliament should be a bill reducing the number of electoral constituencies to five, which they say would make it almost impossible to buy votes, the AP reports.

The Cabinet had proposed redrawing the 25 constituencies to 10, but many lawmakers stormed out of the house in protest accusing the government of procrastinating and a lack of seriousness about reform.

The reformists include fundamentalist Muslims, liberals and independents, marking the first time political foes who have a different vision of Kuwait join forces on one issue. It is not known however, if this alliance will hold. If it does, it will be in a stronger position to implement reform, with 36 members compared to the last parliament when the reformist camp comprised 29 deputies.