Shiite minority main victors in Kuwait parliamentary poll hit by boycott
The Shiite minority emerged the main victors in Kuwait's parliamentary polls - boycotted by the opposition which considered the new assembly illegitimate - amid poor voter turnout.
Shiite candidates bagged 17 of the 50-seat parliament, their biggest tally ever, as they refused to join calls by the Sunni-dominated opposition to boycott the polls in protest against an amendment of the electoral law.
Shiites, who form about 30 per cent of Kuwait's native population of 1.2 million, had nine seats in the previous parliament elected in 2009 and seven in the assembly elected in February and later scrapped by a court.
Three women were elected to the new parliament compared to four in 2009, according to results released by the National Election Commission.
The new house includes as many as 30 new faces, reflecting the boycott by former MPs who are leading members of the opposition.
Sunni Islamists were reduced to a small minority of four MPs compared with as many as 23 in the house elected in February.
The boycott was called to protest at the government's unilateral amendment of an key electoral law ahead of the polls. The opposition says the action enabled the government to manipulate the outcome of polls.
The opposition hailed the boycott as successful as a majority of voters stayed home.
"Based on statistics compiled by the opposition, the voter turnout was 26.7 per cent," said former MP Khaled al-Sultan at the end of an emergency meeting by the opposition after the ballots closed.
Political analyst Mohammad al-Ajmi said the new parliament would be unlikely to survive for long as the country appears headed for an escalation of tension between the Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition and the government led by the al-Sabah ruling family.