Kuwaitis hoping for reform went to the polls on Saturday in a parliamentary election overshadowed by Covid-19, with facilities laid on so citizens infected with the disease could vote in special polling stations. The oil-rich emirate has enforced some of the strictest regulations in the Gulf to combat the spread of the virus, imposing a months-long lockdown earlier this year. While some of those curbs have been eased, over-the-top campaign events that traditionally draw thousands for lavish banquets were absent from this year’s election, while masks remain mandatory outdoors and temperature checks routine. Infected people or those under enforced quarantine are usually confined to home, with electronic wristbands monitoring their movements. But in an effort to respect their right to vote, authorities designated five polling stations — one in each electoral district — for them to cast their ballots. On Saturday, authorities set up security barriers around the country’s 102 polling stations to prevent gatherings, with designated lanes for entry and exit. Mask-clad voters, who were also forced to wear gloves, were subject to temperature checks before entering the facilities where election officials stood behind glass barriers. ‘New blood’ Unlike other oil-rich Gulf states Kuwait has a lively political life and its parliament, elected for four-year terms, enjoys wide legislative powers. Political disputes are often fought in public. But with more than 144,000 coronavirus cases to date including 889 deaths, the election campaign has been toned down, with only a few banners hoisted over the streets. Instead, this year’s campaign has mainly been fought on social networks and in the media. Yet the normal themes have remained: promises to fight corruption and address youth employment, along with debates over freedom of expression, housing, education and the thorny issue of the stateless “bidoon” minority. Some Kuwaitis have expressed their desire for change and reform in their country, where 70 percent of the 4.8 million population are foreigners.