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Kuwait opposition rallies over disputed law

By AFP - Nov 11,2012 - Last updated at Nov 11,2012

KUWAIT CITY — Tens of thousands of supporters of the Kuwaiti opposition rallied on Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the constitution and to demand the repeal of a disputed electoral law.

The enthusiastic crowds chanted “The people want the repeal of the law”, ordered by Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad to change the voting system ahead of the December 1 parliamentary election, the second this year.

“The law aims at preventing Kuwaiti popular participation in governance... and to establish autocratic rule and exploit the country’s resources,” Islamist former MP Khaled Al Sultan told cheering protesters.

Under the previous law, Kuwaiti voters were able to pick up to four candidates, but that has now been reduced to only one.

The opposition claims the amendment allows the government to influence the outcome of the results and elect a rubber stamp parliament.

Kuwait became the first Arab state in the Gulf to issue a constitution in November 1962.

Organisers estimated the gathering at around 200,000 people, which would be the largest rally in Kuwait’s history, but onlookers said the number was around 50,000.

Unlike previous three demonstrations which turned violent, Sunday’s gathering remained peaceful as it was held at the Erada (Will) Square opposite parliament building in Kuwait City, as the interior ministry had demanded.

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