Kuwait to question 33 tribesmen after illegal election


A major Kuwaiti Bedouin tribe secretly held the election on Friday and nominated four candidates to represent the tribe in the forthcoming general elections on May 17.

Local newspapers said thousands of voters took part despite repeated government warnings.

Last month police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of tribesmen who were protesting at the arrest of eight men for organising a tribal election. They were later released on bail pending trial.

Kuwaiti tribes hold primary elections in a bid to field a small number of candidates to boost their chances of winning seats in parliament.

A law passed a decade ago stipulates jail terms of up to three years for organisers of, and participants in, tribal or sectarian primary elections. No one has ever been convicted under the law, however.

Bedouin tribes account for more than half of Kuwait’s native population of one million. They held about half the seats in the outgoing 50-member parliament.

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved parliament last month and called early elections following a standoff between MPs and the government.


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