Safa al-Hashem, Kuwait’s controversial and only female MP, loses seat

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Safa al-Hashem, Kuwait’s only female MP who has courted controversy over her anti-expat stance, lost her seat in the latest election that saw opposition candidates make gains.

Kuwait’s local elections, held last Saturday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, saw opposition candidates make gains in the parliamentary vote in which two-thirds of incumbent MPs lost their seats and no women were elected.

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The final count of the votes showed 31 new candidates had been elected to the 50-seat assembly as members of parliament.

This election saw 29 female candidates campaigning for seats, with none of them succeeding.

Al-Hashem, an MP who was elected to the 2012 and 2016 legislative terms of Kuwait’s National Assembly, made history in the 2016 election when she became the first woman to win in three parliamentary elections. She had previously been a part of the 2009 parliament before it was dissolved.

Born in 1964, the lone female MP holds degrees in English literature and in business administration. She is also a successful businesswoman, founding and managing Advantage Consulting Company (ACC), a Kuwait-based company that provides management and business advisory services.

Al-Hashem, known for her anti-migrant stance, has courted controversy in the past year for calling on the government to send expatriates back to their home countries. She has also made negative comments toward the Egyptian expatriate community, which resulted in her receiving at least nine death threats.

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