Kuwaiti Women Fly High with Democracy

Kuwaiti Women Fly High with Democracy

About four years ago (September 2005), and to mark the occasion of Kuwaiti women s gaining their political rights, Al-Arabi carried an investigation entitled Kuwaiti women, a step forward.,. What s next after Kuwaiti women gained their political rights? ,the beginning of which came as follows: At last the dream which Kuwaiti women awaited for almost forty years, the age of the parliamentary experience in Kuwait, has come true. Kuwait has thus revealed its civilized face which had long been hidden under heaps of discrimination against Kuwaiti women since Kuwait had its parliament which it boasts of as one of the most effective and lively Arab parliaments in terms of free, often heated discussions of the political and social issues under consideration".

"At last Kuwait women have gained their political rights which they have long been denied under pressure from masculine society represented by National Assembly members in successive terms.

At last Kuwaiti women can be voters, MPs and cabinet ministers, and can clearly express their views about all political, social, economic and cultural issues in parliament and share in the political process side by side with men. At last Kuwaiti women have concluded a long story which they followed with great effort, patience and struggle, and more importantly, with hope which reactionary forces failed to shatter in spite of their repeated attempts . The article reviewed all chapters of the story from the first feminist movement in the history of Kuwait until the long-awaited rights were gained on the evening of May 16,2005.

However, many observers of the political conditions in Kuwait and the Arab world ruled out Kuwaiti women s getting into parliament before the passage of as many as decades unless they receive special legislative aid, as happened in many other Arab countries which apply the female quota system, or be added to party lists as a compulsory percentage. Even those who were very optimistic about the ability of Kuwaiti women to fulfil their dreams were so pessimistic and waited for something like a special miracle. Surprisingly, that did happen, and, interestingly, on the same day which coincided with the fourth anniversary of Kuwaiti women s gaining of their rights: the sixteenth of May. Will this date be the Kuwaiti Women Day?

The sixteenth of May

On the sixteenth of May this year (2009), Kuwaiti women were destined to receive a wonderful present from the people of Kuwait-men and women: the confidence they put in four women candidates in National Assembly elections and made them sit in Abdullah Al-Salim Hall, where parliamentary sessions are held, a step which was a big dream come true.

Yes... at last the big dream has come true after almost half a century of struggle in which both men and women shared. This long march was arranged by Kuwaiti women of different age groups, education and class levels and social backgrounds, as well as by women who supported women s rights to share in national development as legislation through the gate of democracy, in spite of all social, legal, political and other barriers against women rights which are enshrined in the constitution. In this respect, many awesome moral weapons were used in the form of fatwas which were mostly contradictory, to prove that Islam bars Muslim women from sharing in the democratic process as voters and candidates in elections.

Significant landmarks on the road

No right is lost so long as there are those who keep demanding it. As far as Kuwaiti women s political right is concerned ,many men and women continued demanding it in repeated attempts with unfailing determination. Though tiring, the journey down the road was pleasant, and it is therefore a story worth telling, as outlined below:

In 1962 Kuwait s constitution was promulgated, Article 29 of which reads: People are equal in human dignity, and they are equal in the eyes of the law in general rights and duties with no discrimination on the grounds of sex, origin, language or religion.

In 1962 Election Law 35 was enacted under which Kuwaiti women were barred from voting in or standing for election, as Article 1 thereof reads: Every Kuwaiti male at least 30 calendar years of age shall be eligible to vote, except for naturalized persons who have been citizens for less than 30 calendar years in accordance with the provisions of Article 6 of Law 15 of 1959 in respect of the Kuwaiti nationality.

In 1971 Nouriya Alseddani, then President of the Arab Women Day in Kuwait and President of the Family Progress Society submitted a memo to the National Assembly Speaker demanding that Kuwaiti women be given the right to vote and stand for election. The memo was referred to the Complaints and Petitions Committee which approved the recommendations therein and referred it to the Assembly which debated it in many sessions starting from 8 December 1973.

During the fourth legislative term in 1975 MPs Jassim Alqatami and Rashid Alfarhan submitted the first bill proposal giving women full political rights to vote and stand for election.

During the fifth legislative term (1981-1985) MP Ahmad Fahd Altukhaim put forward a bill to amend Article 1 of the Election Law to acknowledge women r rights.

During the sixth legislative term whose elections were held on 20 February 1985, MP Khalid Salih Alghonaim proposed a bill giving women the right to vote and stand for lection.

On 17 April 1991 the then Amir of Kuwait HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in his first address after liberation from the Saddam invasion promised to consider the issue of women s political rights and participation in parliament so as to help them play their role fully in social development and progress.

During the seventh legislative term in 1992 PM Hamad Aljoan put forward a bill giving women their political right to vote and stand for election.

On 20 July 1994 during the same term MPs Ali Albaghli Abdumohsen Jamal, Jassim Alsaqr and Abdullah Alnibari brought forward a bill to the same effect.

During the eighth legislative term whose elections were held on 7 October 1996 MPs Sami Almunayes, Abdullah Alnibari and Dr Hassan Johar submitted a bill at the end of December giving women their political rights.

On 29 January 1997 during the same term MPs Salah Abdulrida Khorshied and Abbas Hussein Alkhadari brought forward a bill to the same effect.

All these attempts ended in failure, particularly in view of the fact that the poltical forces represented in the National Assembly who rejeced women s political rights exploited the government s rejection, silence, indifference or abstention to secure a majority vote against women s political rights. These forces were an inhomogeneous mix of conservatives and Islamists; however, they were united in this issue in particular, but otherwise in other issues. Their most powerful weapons were fatwas which prevent women from legislation arguing that the latter entails public authority which women are barred from assuming, although advocates of women s rights were at pains to show the differences in relevant fatwas, particularly as nearly all other Arab countries apply such fatwas that allow women to vote and stand for election.

O 16 May 1999 the Cabinet approved a decree law giving Kuwaiti women the right to vote in and stand for general and municipal elections. On 25 1999 HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah issued Decree Law 9 of 1999 amending Article 1 of Law 35 of 1962 concerning National Assembly elections allowing Kuwaiti women to vote in and sand for National Assembly elections.

As the national Assembly was dissolved when the above decree law was issued, the newly-elected Assembly rejected it in its 23 November 1999 session.

In the same session the Assembly accepted an urgent bill proposal submitted by 14 members similar to the above decree law which the Assembly had previously rejected.

In the 30 November 1999 session the Assembly voted against a bill submitted by MPs Muhammad Alsaqr, Sami Almunayes, Ahmad Alrobie, Abdulwahab Alharoun and Abdulmohsen Jamal in the 2 August 1999 session amending Article 1 of Election Law 53 of 1962.

On 29 July 2000 the Assembly Speaker said he received a bill proposed by MPs Sami Almunayes. Muhammad Alsaqr, Abdullah Alnibari and Abdulwahab Alharoun to the same effect.

On 16 January 2001 the Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal lodged by a citizen against Director of Elections and National Assembly Affairs in the Ministry of the Interior ex officio pleading that the Election Law is unconstitutional.

On 17 March 2002 the Constitutional Court Appeals Examination Committee dismissed two cses brought by two female citizens against the Minister of the Itnerior for refusl to enter their and other women s names in the electoral register.

On 11 May 2003 the Cabinet approved significant amendments to Municipality Law allowing women to vote in and stand for Municipal Council elections as well as to hold office therein. On 30 May 2001 the government referred to the Assembly a draft law under Decree 130 of 2004 amending Article 1 of Election Law 53 of 1962. The draft law was referred to the Assembly s Interior and Defence Committee.

On 16 May 2005 the Assembly voted in favour of a bill giving women political rights to vote and stand for election.

On 12 June 2005 the first Kuwaiti woman became a cabinet minister as Dr Moasouma Almubarak was appointed Minister of Planning and Minister of State for Administrative Development. More women were later appointed ministers in successive cabinets.

In the 2006 elections women voted in and stood for election for the first time. The number of women voters and candidates was a surprise. Though no woman was elected, the election results showed the experiment as generally a success. There were 27 women candidates some of whom polled a fair number of votes in their constituencies.

In the 2008 elections there was a broader female participation, and the dream all but came true. Five women candidates received a considerable number of votes, outdoing many male candidates. One woman came in eleventh position in her constituency and hence all but entered parliament.

In the 2009 elections the dream came true and Kuwaiti women got into parliament. This story is worth telling and is divided into four stories of four women.

Yes... at last Kuwaiti women s dream came true through four women: Drs Maasouma Almubarak, Aseel Alawadi, Rola Dashti and Salwa Aljassar, a story of each is worth telling, a brief account of which follows:

Story One: Maasouma Almubarak

She entered Kuwait s political history for the first time in 2005 as the first female cabinet minister, and now she enters history for the second time through a different door-the National assembly.

She was born in Kuwait in 1947. She completed secondary school in Kuwait and in 1971 she left for the USA where she obtained a Master s and a PhD from the University of Denver. She has been teaching political science at Kuwait University since 1982, but she gave up the job she loved for some time when she was chosen by the Prime Minister to be Minister of Planning in 2005, then Minister of Communications in 2006 and Minister of Health a year later. She resigned in 2007 following a fire which broke out in Jahra Hospital for which she accepted responsibility with outstanding courage. As she left office she had apparently decided to enter her country s political history this time through the ballot box. Once there were early elections following the constitutional dissolution of the National Assembly she announced her intention to sand for election in one of Kuwait s five constituencies.

Good choice makes a better march

Dr Maasouma fought the elections as an independent candidate under the above slogan. Her election manifesto began: Kuwait deserves all our care, effort and dedication. Saving Kuwait from the state of standstill which resulted from successive political crises and their profound implications requires listening to reason and conscience. It also requires effective cooperation between the executive and the legislature to move from doubtful intentions to mutual and joint action within the framework of the constitution and national interests, to realize ambitions and aspirations for such real development that returns Kuwait s cheerful face and Kuwaitis optimism. Her manifesto described in outline her political vision: promoting national unity and doubling political and parliamentary effort to encourage cooperation between the two powers in order to speed up development and achieve progress in all sectors for building Kuwait-country and people.

As she enters the National Assembly, Almubarak s message is the need to adhere to the constitution in letter and spirit, enhance citizens role in protecting national unity, abandon sectarian and tribal wrangling and promote the spirit of national partnership based on mutual respect among all sectors of society.

Justice, equality and transparency

Professor of political science and the first woman cabinet minister in the history of Kuwait, Almubarak outlined her objectives as justice, equality of opportunity and rule of law, in addition to cooperation between the two powers on the basis of separation of the powers, according to parliamentary practices which fulfil the necessary roles and requirements based on transparency and realism in settling differences so as to resolve crises as is acceptable to both the majority and the minority. She also stressed the need for promoting national unity to bring about significant change, reform and development.

She also stressed the need for a strategic vision of a twenty-year development plan, part of which is a five-year plan for educational, health, housing, economic, social and other infrastructure. She recommended working out a government action plan which implements the five-year plan based on the 20-year strategic vision, as well as agreeing all projects and their budgets with the National Assembly, so as to enhance human development which is the real investment and the lifeblood of the nation s building in which citizens are the cornerstone of any development process.

On the eve of the elections she addressed her constituency voters. You have to change the prevailing spirit of frustration in these elections, she said. Thanks to her vision, she won huge popularity in her constituency which is generally regarded as one of the most difficult due to sectarian division. Ten candidates won the 2008 elections, equally divided among Sunnis and Shiites, a clear indication of sectarian polarization.

The first winner

Almubarak s charismatic personality helped her surmount that obstacle and win voters trust. Contrary to many expectations, she came first, well ahead of her male winners. After the election results were announced she felt her message was delivered. We all took part in that democratic festival which saved us from the sense of frustration and despair and brought back our belief in democracy. What remains now is optimism about a harmonious relationship and constructive cooperation between the executive and the legislature in order to enhance development which has long been stalled because of repeated crises between the government and parliament, she commented.

Commenting on the victory of four women MPs she said: This result shows popular insistence on actual female participation in parliament. That four women won in the third round is unprecedented. She attributed that impressive victory to voters understanding, saying that result would reflect on parliamentary action, particularly as far as delayed issues and law and stalled major projects are concerned. When implemented, these will make Kuwait a financial and business centre. She expressed her joy at the victory of the other three women MPs saying they would all play key roles, particularly concerning women s issues which require amending many laws to ensure equality with men in all matters, as enshrined in the constitution.

Story Two: Aseel Alawadi

The youngest female MP, she is viewed by many as the least experienced in national politics; however she proved she was able to win Kuwaitis trust with her quiet presentation of ideas, quieter voice and a manifesto based on a comprehensive investigation of the country s and citizens needs.

She was born in Kuwait, and after graduation from Kuwait Unviersity she left for the US where she lived for about ten years during which she obtained a Master s and a PhD. After returning to Kuwait she taught philosophy at Kuwait University and soon afterwards she was involved in politics joining the National Democraic Alliance on whose list she stood for the 2008 elections and ran a carefully orchestrated campaign which surprised all observers who didn t know much about her. She came in eleventh position in her constituency (No.3), just one position behind the ten winners. That relatively advanced position qualified her to stand for the 2009 elections with considerable confidence as an independent candidate, though.

A homeland anew

Under the above slogan, Alawadi ran her campaign in her constituency, which is the stronghold of organized political groups in Kuwait, armed with a manifesto which stressed the issue of development. In her introduction to the manifesto she said: What we need is development, real development according to a long term strategy based on a solid foundation of investigation and analysis which ensures sustainable economic and social development, through sound investment of the country s natural and human resources at present and for a better future. What we also need is that our political position and decisions should serve this purpose rather than impede it. She said real development required a stable economy which, being society s driving force, needs special attention.

She is of the opinion that a stable economy requires dynamic individuals, the driving force and target of development, and that training hardworking citizens who serve their country in the spirit of the age is at the core of development. As education is the basis for human development, educational reform has become an absolute necessity. Education and culture, she maintains, are the two pillars of overall development. One aspect of education is a means of the dissemination and promotion of national culture. Culture, in its broad sense, is the spirit of the nation and the repository of its ideas, values, moral standards, vision of and attitude to life. Since its birth, Kuwait s culture has been one of openness and tolerance which made it a leading beacon of culture in the Arab world.

As Alawadi pointed out in her election manifesto, a dynamic individual must enjoy good health, and provision of the essential ingredients for public health is a collective responsibility through active, organized action led by the public sector.

Among the broad headings of her manifesto is real, effective democracy . In this context she says development flourishes in a climate of freedom and transparency under democracy. But since its inception, Kuwait s democratic experiment has been suffering from nuisances not in line with the spirit of the constitution and the relevant approach. It is therefore our duty to defend our democracy in the face of challenges. In addition, democratic practices must also be protected and activated. Alawadi recommends that the rule of law restore its respect and be applied to all without distinction. She believes that the state administrative machine needs significant reform, and to ensure the rule of law as a key factor in the nation s building requires a completely independent judiciary.

Alawadi, who came in second position in her constituency, said women won the elections due to the Kuwaiti people s desire for change, attributing their victory to years of hard work, pointing out that masculine domination over Arab societies and marginalization of the role of women in all areas were the main obstacles the women candidates encountered in the recent elections. She referred to some factors which helped Kuwait women fulfil their old dream , including "the bad performance amid an unprecedented atmosphere of conflicts which made MPs ignore people s interests and sufferings and engage in wrangling with the government " and neglected development and raising the standard of public services , During the year , which helped the women candidates greatly, parliament was busily engaged in wrangling using an unacceptable language of dialogue.

As Alawadi said, dissolution of the National Assembly aroused Kuwaitis genuine desire for change, one of the tools of which was women. Even in the constituencies which are dominated by a tribal mentality and primary elections, women polled a considerable number of votes and came among the top fifteen, which is an advanced position. To conclude, she said those circumstances achieved a general consensus of opinion that women should be MPs. The press also played a role in the election process, and the nation that women don t vote for women was given up.

All PhDs

According to Alawadi, among the other reasons for such impressive victory for women so rapidly was the high level of education of most women candidates, and the fact that all female winners are PhDs contributed effectively to their victory, for most MPs do not hold any degrees, and some of them are half-educated and difficult to deal with, as they are unable to draw up any economic, social or educational plans or programmes.

However, this does not mean that the women s road to parliament was a smooth one. They faced many obstacles summed up by Alawadi as widespread rumours and fatwas which deny women the right to vote.

Nevertheless, MP Alawadi was ultimately very happy with the results women achieved and the change in political action which the people of Kuwait insisted on by choosing certain candidates, but she was quick to say: Many challenges face us, especially as there are those who want to foil the experiment, and, accordingly, we have to position ourselves firmly in parliament.

Story Three: Rola Dashti

She was born in Kuwait in 1964. Her father was Kuwaiti; her mother Lebanese. She pursued her studies in Beirut, where she acquired its dialect which some people tried to use to her disadvantage, but she turned it into a positive factor, thanks to her intelligence, spontaneity, self-confidence and love of her country. In this way she presented her real image to people without any cosmetic exercise. She continued her studies in the USA, where she obtained a PhD in demographic economics from Johns Hopkins University, following which she returned to Kuwait after liberation from the Saddam invasion and worked as an economic expert. She is a women s rights activist and an advocate of democratic and economic reform. Kuwaitis know her as an active supporter of women s political rights, and when these rights were approved in the historic parliamentary session of 16 May 2005 TV viewers noticed the broad smile on her face and how she was filled with joy. She was the first to be elected president of the Kuwait Economic Society. She is also a member of the Supreme Council of Planning in Kuwait and worked as a consultant to the World Bank.

Dashti was the only woman MP who stood for election three times successively before gaining the confidence of the voters in constituency No. 3 along with her colleague Aseel Alawadi.

Change is our responsibility

She ran the election campaign under the above slogan, which completes her 2008 election campaign slogan: We can . Under these two slogans she presented an optimisic image of Kuwaitis whose potential abilities, which need to be activated through work, she trusted.

She outlined her vision in a brief election manifesto in which she stressed the need for raising the standard of living of Kuwaiti families through ownership of investments; amendments to the housing law enaling citizens to buy houses; encouragement of fair competition, and antitrust. She also stressed the importance of creating opportunities, improving the pension scheme by awarding government tenders worth less than KD 2000 to the youth s small-sized enterprises, and obliging the private sector to award 50% of government tenders worth over KD 100000 to the same enterprises, and raising pension ceilings and supplementary salaries to KD 15000 each.

Women had their share in the election manifesto of the woman who is an outspoken advocate of women s political rights. She called for protecting women s constitutional rights and gains by opening nurseries in institutions with over 100 employees, creating a housing fund for single Kuwaiti women, widows, divorcees and women married to non-Kuwaitis, paying allowances to custodial mothers, and providing the ingredients for a decent life for the children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis.

She didn t neglect the health service, either. She stressed the need for raising the standard of health care and professionals and upgrading health centres and hospitals. She called for a medical insurance scheme under which citizens may choose the place of treatment. She also called for education development and amendments to relevant laws to ensure freedom of choice of the desirable type of education.

Additionally, Dashti put forward a number of recommendations, including anti-corruption measures, promotion of transparency in government agencies through a freedom of access to information law and a new law for government tenders, as well as a law for revelation of officials personal property.

With this overall vision, Dashti introduced herself in such a way that attracted many citizens who voted for her and gve her a seat in inparliament. She came in seventh position in her ten-seat constituency. She was certain of victory, whereas many persons were not sure that any women will win.

Tears of joy and victory

Dashti was very happy with her women colleagues victory, and the memorable moment the results were announced, tears were her first expression of joy, and she said to journalists that that victory was for all women-activists, housewives, mothers, workers and sisters alike.

She attributed the surprising victory of four women to Kuwaitis desire for change, having suffered a lot from repeated political crises because of disagreements between parliament and successive governments in recent years. Frustration and despair, she said, provided opportunities if well used. That s what actually happened in Kuwait after he people were even sceptical about democracy and some called for suspension of the constitution.

Dashti said the female candidates their task was not easy, but voters were powerfully influenced by their discourse which departed from blame and complaint to future outlook and change, emphasizing that progress could only be achieved by voters. She pointed out that that discourse left its mark on people, as women candidates abandoned empty slogans and came up with solutions to the problems facing Kuwait s future, particularly those related to the economy and the position of women.

The secret lies in the change

Dashti said: The people of Kuwait have brought about change, reinforced democracy and made history not that of Kuwait alone but of women s political action worldwide, as they affirmed their ability to get into parliament within a short period of winning their political rights without the quota system or involvement in political parties or groupings. I m optimistic about the future, and that s what the Kuwaitis wanted: political, social, economic and financial stability. Contrary to pessimists attitudes, our future is promising and it requires sacrifices, genuine citizenship, hard work, a new approach to our issues and constructive dialogue."

Story Four: Salwa Aljassar

The fourth woman MP Dr Salwa Aljassar, may have been the only real surprise to Kuwaitis in the 2009 elections. In spite of being a professor of education at Kuwait University, a women s rights activist and president of Women Empowerment Centre, an NGO, she was not a popular figure in the media, but only a scholarly academic. Her lovable image represented that of a traditional Kuwaiti woman who preserves family values as she became involved in politics and stood for National Assembly elections. Her entire family supported her and, interestingly and surprisingly, her husband was her campaign manager, assisted by her brother. That family sight helped her a lot surmount difficulties in her constituency, the centre of many organized political groups. She has achieved her objective, winning voters confidence. She stood for election for the first time in 2008 and polled a considerable number of votes placing her in an advanced position, but eventually, she did not win.

Salwa Aljassar was born in Kuwait in 1967 and she completed her studies in the USA, where she was awarded a PhD, after which she returned to Kuwait and became a professor at Kuwait University Faculty of Education. She wrote many books and articles on education, curricula, teaching methods, survival skills, values learning, decision-making, female leaders, communication skills, trainer education, total quality management, etc.

Challenging the legacies

Aljassar decided to stad for the 2009 elections as an independent candidate and not to join the many political groups in the constituency. She pointed out that she stood for the elections out of challenge to some cultural and social legacies which reject women s involvement in politics, particularly in view of the pressing need for a positive step towards such involvement. Her decision to stand for the elections, she said, was not made in a vacuum but was based on intensive studies, adding that she had a mission and a clear vision for projects which solve many problems in society.

Asked about her election manifesto she answered she didn t have one, but her vision may be outlined in: promotion of governance and good citizenship in order to use all human and material resources for building a democratic society which is based on equality of opportunity, enhances development and ensures welfare for citizens and expatriates; reactivation of reform programmes and facing all challenges to meet future demands in the context of the rule of law, the spirit of the age local culture, customs and traditions and citizens social responsibility.

Aljassar addressed Kuwaitis in a message which observers considered an election manifesto which eventually led her to parliament. In the message she said that her mission, which took national requirements, citizens interests and available resources into consideration, could be realized through stressing state stability and security and educating nationals to make the best use of their abilities in order to perform their duties perfectly and consolidate all national gains in the face of all challenges to internal and external security.

Comprehensive development programmes

Among the key elements in her message were: the need for drawing up comprehensive development programmes according to the culture and values of Kuwait s society, preserving Islamic principles, adapting to current and future transformations; maximum investment in and preparation of human resources to face cultural, social, economic and political changes; application of the principle of justice and the policy of equal opportunity, for men and women especially for the young, based on efficiency and integrity in the choice of decision-makers and leadership to reform all institutions; drafting laws and regulations which meet the demands of development; reformulation of all government programmes based on technology and an overall view of development plans.

She stressed the need for changing the management style and organization of government agencies in an attempt to diversify development activities and opportunities based on the standards of total quality management and anti-corruption to boost production. She also called for designing work plan schedules for reactivating all basic services infrastructure.

Aljassar recommended that the private sector be actively engaged in development and reform programmes; reduce unemployment rates through the diversification of economic and investment activities and opportunities to create more job opportunities qualitatively and quantitatively; change the current theoretical methods of education to practical, functional ones based on state-of-the art technology and diversify the opportunities of education. She placed special emphasis on the youth, the real wealth of the nation, and developing their abilities, and on women empowerment to help them carry out their role in social, political, educational, economic and legislative development.

Constituency No. 2 candidate concluded her message calling for giving priority to women in government, parliamentary and private programmes and directing all laws and government and public sector projects to serve the interests of the middle class, satisfy their needs and solve their problems to ensure their well-being.

A historic experiment worldwide

Aljassar came in tenth position, at the bottom of the list of winners, as according to the electoral system in Kuwait the first ten winners in each of the five constituencies gain seats in the 50-member National Assembly, in addition to not more than 16 cabinet ministers. She was filled with happiness at her and her three colleagues victory when the results were announced in the early hours of May 17 morning. Newspapers carried a cute picture showing her making a spontaneous trilling of joy which delighted people.

Aljassar said she was extremely proud of her victory which she attributed to the fact that it came through the ballot box and not the quota system, recording women s experiment and sweeping victory in Kuwait s parliament as a historic one worldwide. The four women candidates have attained advanced positions and won the confidence of men and women voters from all walks of life. This demonstrates that all sectors of Kuwait s society, who were convinced of the thinking of these women, have a common patriotic sense, however different their ideologies may be, she said.


Saadiya Mifreh


Maasouma Almubarak: "This result shows popular insistence on actual female involvement in politics,” "My message is adherence to the constitution in letter and spirit.”

Aseel Alawadi: "Real development requires a stable economy.” "Many challenges face us as there are those who want to foil the experiment.”

Rola Dashti: "The people of Kuwait have brought about change, reinforced democracy and made history.” "I call for encouraging fair competition and antitrust.”

Salwa Aljassar: "I am extremely proud of my victory because it came through the ballot box and not the quota system.” "I call for the application of the principle of justice and equality of opportunity for men and women.”

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