KUWAIT: No women made it to Kuwait's legislature as voters ushered back in many Islamist and tribal politicians from the previous house, which could mean further stagnation in economic reform.
Twenty-seven women were among the 275 hopefuls in the race for the 50 seats that became vacant when the ruler Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah dissolved parliament in March, ending a standoff with the cabinet that had delayed economic reforms.
Women failed to secure any seats in the 2006 polls. The country gave women the right to vote and stand for office in 2005, but many nationals of both sexes believe a woman's place is in the home.
Twenty-eight members of the previous parliament were re-elected, according to results carried by the official media.
Many of the new faces hail from tribal areas. Voters also brought back two Shi'ite Muslim politicians who had been questioned over participating in a ceremony that has highlighted sectarian tensions in the country.
Shi'ites representation rose by one MP to five while the Islamic Constitutional Movement, Kuwait's version of the Middle East's Muslim Brotherhood movement, won three seats compared with six in the dissolved house.
Several members of the Islamic Salafist movement won seats.
Kuwait, which sits on a tenth of the world's oil reserves, wants to wean its economy off energy exports and emulate the success of neighbours like Dubai and Bahrain which have transformed themselves into financial centres and tourist destinations.
Amid the political squabbles, reforms such as a bill to attract foreign investment were left on the back burner.