By Abdullah Al-Khatib

KUWAIT, April 3 (KUNA) -- Kuwaitis, on April 4, will be heading to polls to cast their votes in the 2024 National Assembly elections, which coincided with the month of Ramadan this year amid an atmosphere of socializing and heightened spirituality.
Candidates in this election decided to utilize their campaigns to boost their media presence especially after breaking fast at a time when people become super active after a long day of fasting.
While that is the case, pundits and experts have wondered if the holy month of Ramadan had an adverse effect on the voting process, pondering questions about turnout as voting begins at noon and concludes at midnight.
The month of Ramadan is a chance for candidates and voters to meet during the holy occasion, exchanging views on how to better handle problems and face national challenges, assistant civil engineer professors at the American International University (AIU) Dr. Manal Al-Adwani told KUNA.
She stressed the importance of the upcoming period in the political scene of Kuwait, saying that voters must choose wisely when casting their ballot card to ensure that whoever reached the National Assembly represented the true will and aspirations of the people.
Some voters might be hesitant to cast their vote, argued Dr. Al-Adwani, attributing that to political fatigue and disappointment of some in previous parliaments.
She said that voting counts, urging eligible voters to put those with clear intellect and political vision in the upcoming parliament formation.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Harbi -- assistant professor at the Arab Open University (AOU) -- predicted that the advent of Ramadan would not affect voters' turnout due to what seemed to him, a heavy involvement and interaction on part of voters with the political scene.
The socializing aspect of the month of Ramadan is bound to have an effect on elections, argued Dr. Al-Harbi, saying that this very aspect would be key in driving people to vote for their candidates of choice.
He went on to say that, the urgent challenges facing the country would also bring people to voting stations to cast their ballot regardless of them observing fast during Ramadan.
Ramadan would have a "positive" impact on the elections, said political analyst Dr. Saleh Al-Saeedi on his part.
Most of the eligible voters are in the country and not on vacation or abroad, he added, noting that this very fact would help voters flock to polling stations across the country prior to breaking fast and beyond during the election eve.
The spirituality of the month of Ramadan might also have an impact on candidates' behavior since fasting involved not only abstaining from drinking water or eating food, but the spiritual practice also heightens good manners, he said.
It remains to be seen whether the elections this year will yield a huge turnout, but what is for sure the "Ramadan effect" will have a say whether it is negative or positive. (end) ak.gta