Hundreds of candidates, including 23 women, will compete for 50 seats in the Kuwaiti National Assembly on Thursday (February 2nd).
Kuwait's electoral commission approved a total of 286 candidates to compete for the 14th legislative term.
This year's election is the fourth to involve women as voters and candidates since 2006.
The number of women running is up from previous years. Only 19 women candidates competed in the 2009 elections, four of whom won: Masuma al-Mubarak, Rola Dashti, Aseel al-Awadi, and Salwa al-Jassar.
The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, dissolved the National Assembly on December 6, 2011, under pressure from the opposition following a corruption scandal that involved a number of representatives and officials.
Under Kuwaiti law, elections must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of parliament. There are 50 seats in Kuwait's National Assembly, 10 representatives for each of the 5 electoral districts.
"Women [representatives] contributed greatly to the adoption of many laws that enable women to live in accordance with basic human rights despite the difficult conditions they live in owing to their social circumstances, as in cases of divorce or marriage to a non-Kuwaiti," said Naima al-Hai, an engineer, media professional and candidate running in the third electoral district.
"The rumours that circulated describing the performance of the women who were elected to the 2009 assembly as not falling within the boundaries of their required role in the assembly are not true. Those four women sought diligently to achieve the demands of Kuwaiti women who previously could not get a male representative to listen to what they had to say," al-Hai said.
"My candidacy is borne of my desire to enhance the role of Kuwait women in society and affirm that she is capable of serving her country side by side with men in the political and parliamentary arena."
Al-Hai said the main issues she will focus on are the advancement of women's issues and the reinforcement of previously approved decisions and laws that have not yet been implemented, in addition to providing support to young talented Kuwaitis.
Rasha al-Sayegh, an engineer and candidate in the third electoral district, said women representatives in the previous assembly worked very hard, but many of the rights of Kuwaiti women remain unfulfilled.
"There is no justice or equality for Kuwaiti women married to men of unidentified nationalities, and their children are not granted Kuwaiti citizenship, which creates a myriad of social and humanitarian problems for those families," she said.
Al-Sayegh said if she wins a seat in the assembly, her priorities will focus on attaining and supporting the rights of women and children in society, among other development projects.
Thikra al-Rashidi, a lawyer and candidate in the fourth electoral district, said, "Although women have had access to and have occupied leadership positions in government, in my eyes they are honorary posts that merely serve to project an improved image and nothing else."
"Women in Kuwait still need laws to be passed to attain their rights in full, since it is unreasonable for women to have to constantly fight for their social and occupational rights in the courts," she said.
Al-Rashidi said that the priorities of any woman candidate who reaches the assembly must centre on passing laws that enable Kuwaiti women to become truly active members of the community.
"There is no justification for procrastination and delays in passing laws that guarantee a dignified life for women," she said.