Many people know how they're going to vote. I mean we are in Kuwait after all. Everyone's got a relative, a friend of a friend, or someone whom they view as the superior candidate for Parliament given their family background or even history in politics.
For those few Kuwaitis out there who don't know how they're going to vote, there usually is a self-imposed criterion that one tries to follow. It differs from person to person, and the range that it stretches is in itself humorous.
Let's take the 4th Electoral District for example: In these areas they're will most likely be primaries held by tribal leaders. Headlines of Kuwaiti Newspapers today say the government will be firm and unrelenting in anyone found participating in this illegal activity. They've said that before, and alas, the primaries still happen. In such cases, the voting criteria is reduced to which branch or "fi5udh" the potential MP originates from. If he is from your branch, than it is only right that you vote for him, regardless of whether or not he is directly related. For those who chose to participate in these illegal primaries, but vote based on substance, there is a high probability of those votes being diluted.
Another criteria held in some of the other districts is the infamous: "what has this person done for me or my family?" Now, while you may think that there are worse foundations on which to vote, what is meant by this statement should not be confused with "what issues has this person championed that express what I want for the future of Kuwait?"….Its more like "how many parking tickets did he get me out of and did he fly my uncle to Switzerland for a routine tonsillectomy when we wanted him to?" You see the distinction of course.
Then there are those who vote for people that express their core beliefs and morals, which is mostly how its done in western democracy. If you are pro-choice, you vote for the pro-choice candidate, if you are a farmer, you vote for the one with the best agricultural plan, etc. In Kuwait, if you are a liberal, islamist, tribal, shiite, shiite islamist, and derivations of the aforementioned, you vote accordingly.
Nevertheless, there is a new election criteria that more and more Kuwaitis are adopting. In a lot of ways, its unique to this election and if you subscribe to that type of thought, may be the best way to go about your voting. Simply put: "never again". Many people are saying that anyone who was a part of the previous parliament has already lost all credibility as a beacon of change. Those who didn't participate in crisis creation remained silent instead. Those who did speak to no avail never possessed enough influence to make a difference so shouldn't be re-elected on that grounds. Hence the slogan: never again.
On a personal level, I don't subscribe to any one of these methods, but more of a combination of them all. However, I can't help but feel that this process cost us something very dear, when we people become convinced that democracy isn't working. One thing is for certain, if we can't change the way we view the election process, all Kuwait can expect is more of the same.