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Tens of thousands protest against changes to electoral law in Kuwait

Press TV

Tens of thousands of Kuwaitis have held a demonstration in the capital to protest against changes to an electoral law, which the opposition has called a constitutional coup by the government.

The protesters gathered at a square opposite the country’s parliament in Kuwait City late on Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the constitution and to demand the abrogation of the disputed electoral law.

According to opposition activists, around 200,000 people attended Sunday’s demonstration whereas independent sources put the figure at about 50,000.

The demonstrators chanted that “the people want the repeal of the law,” which was ordered by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to change the voting system.

“The law aims at preventing Kuwaiti popular participation in governance… and to establish autocratic rule and exploit the country’s resources,” former MP Khaled al-Sultan told the crowd.

“The amendment of the law is a breach of the constitution… Today, we are here defend our constitution,” ex-MP Mishari al-Ossaimi said.

The opposition called for the protests after the government announced last month it was holding elections on December 1 and would change the electoral law “to preserve national unity”.

Activists say the decision to change the electoral law by the 83-year-old emir, whose family has ruled Kuwait for more than 250 years, is aimed at electing a rubber-stamp parliament.

Kuwait was the first Arab state in the Persian Gulf to establish an elected parliament in 1962. However, the al-Sabah family remained in control of most key posts, including the premiership and the ministries of defense, interior, and foreign affairs.

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