Women make history by winning parliament seats

Four Kuwaiti women made history by winning their first ever parliament seats in the oil-rich Gulf state's elections, according to results released Sunday. Kuwaiti women, who make up 54.3% of the electorate, won the right to vote in 2005.


AFP - Kuwaiti women achieved another historical milestone by winning their first ever seats in the oil-rich Gulf state's parliament, according to official results released on Sunday.

US-educated liberal Aseel al-Awadhi and Rula Dashti were declared among the first 10 winners in the third district. Awadi came in second position while Dashti was in seventh place.

Two other women were almost certain of bagging seats in other districts, the results of which were due to be announced shortly.

Awadhi, 40, is a professor of political philosophy at Kuwait University. She got her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

"It's a victory for Kuwaiti women and a victory for Kuwaiti democracy," a jubilant Awadhi told AFP after the announcement of results.

"This is a major leap forward," she said.

Awadhi was expected to win but no one predicted she would come in second place.

Dashti, who has a doctorate in economics from Jon Hopkins University in the United States, is the chairwoman of the Kuwait Economic Society. She had been a leading figure in the struggle of Kuwaiti women to win their political rights.

Liberal activist Massuma al-Mubarak, who made history by becoming the first Kuwaiti woman minister in 2005, was leading all candidates with a big margin in her district.

Independent candidate Salwa al-Jassar was in seventh position in her district.

Kuwaiti women, who make up 54.3 percent of the 385,000 eligible voters, were running in the elections for only the third time after they were enfranchised in 2005.

Sixteen female candidates were among the 210 hopefuls standing for the 50-seat parliament.

In the previous two elections no women won seats.

Kuwaitis voted on Saturday to elect their second parliament in a year after Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved the outgoing parliament in March following a standoff between MPs and the government.

Results from other electoral districts were expected later Sunday.

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