Kuwait City, Asharq Al-Awsat—Kuwaitis went to the polls this week to elect their third parliament in 17 months. Despite having the oldest and most powerful parliament in the Arab Gulf, Kuwait has a turbulent political scene: no parliament has served its full term since 2003.
With the most recent electoral cycle plagued by controversy over a reduction in the number of candidates each voter can choose from 4 to 1, Asharq Al-Awsat took a step back to examine a similar but more momentous change in Kuwait’s electoral history: the 2005 decision to allow women to stand for election.
A few days ago, Kuwait’s first woman to stand in state elections, Jenan Bushehri, gave an exclusive interview to Asharq Al-Awsat. Bushehri first ran in municipal by-elections in 2006, and also came 12th during parliamentary elections in 2012. Although Kuwait has had female parliamentarians since Bushehri first broke through the glass ceiling, Saturday’s elections are notable in that they have the lowest number of female candidates—only eight of more than 300—in any parliamentary election since 2005.