Kuwait boycott bloc hails lower voter turnout

Opposition groups in Kuwait hailed their election boycott as a success Sunday after officials said voter turnout on Saturday was sharply lower than during the last parliamentary races earlier this year.

Kuwait's Ministry of Information said 40.3 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. That compares with nearly 60 percent in the February elections.

As expected, the results point to a solidly pro-government chamber. Three women are among the new 50-seat parliament, which is expected to hold its first session within two weeks after the end of procedural issues to name a new government.

A wide-reaching opposition coalition, including conservative Islamists and Western-leaning liberals, boycotted the vote to protest alleged power abuses by the ruling family. They have vowed to press ahead with street demonstrations despite a ban on major political gatherings in public.

Kuwait's parliament is the most politically powerful among the Gulf Arab states, but the ruling establishment controls all key government posts and policies.

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Kuwaiti citizens wait in line to cast their vote at a polling station in Rumaithiya, Kuwait on Saturday, Dec. 1st, 2012. The general election to appoint a new Parliament is the fifth since mid-2006, and the second this year.(AP Photo/Gustavo Ferrari)