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Wednesday , November 21 2018

Booby-trapped Arab polls

Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

RECENTLY, three countries in the region conducted elections – two parliamentary elections and one municipal council elections. In all the cases, the turnout was low.

This is a clear indication of how voters are disgusted with anomalous political practices which have prevailed in recent years.

They affirmed their rejection of electoral laws tailored according to measurements of candidates and political powers that impose their will on the people by using force or weapons as it happened in Iraq and Lebanon.

Regarding the low turnout in Kuwait’s municipal council election, this reflects the citizens’ despair over the municipality and parliamentary assemblies which have deviated from constitutional and traditional practices, even the simplest democratic principles. Reluctance to participate in the voting process was observed not only in Kuwait.

The turnout in Iraq did not reach 47 percent, which is less than the 2005 elections when multiparty elections started in that country.

In Lebanon, the situation is worse than Kuwait and Iraq, because the new electoral laws which took 11 years to be finalized were tailored according to the whims of the political power that uses weapons to usurp the decision of the State. This is due to the fact that these laws were written with an ink which dreads ‘Hezbollah’.

The group publicly declares its exit from the national consensus and strives to impose its crooked opinion on the Lebanese people; thereby, making the country an Iranian colony coated with some democratic sectarian décor. Indeed, the situation in Iran and Lebanon is similar in terms of the main player behind the curtain – the Iranian puppeteer with a vision of transforming a single society into sectarian units represented by the power chosen through electoral laws that have no relation with democracy.

Despite the fact that the Kuwaiti election is healthier than the two friendly countries, there are loopholes in the law which makes it the same as the two countries. For instance, the primaries conducted prior to the general election here in our country is a clear indication of deviation from the proper course of the State.

The entire scene becomes worse when we reflect on the recent interpellations witnessed in our Parliament, where the prevailing language was sectarianism and tribalism at the expense of parliamentary speech.

These mockeries that are known as elections have not been witnessed by democracies of the world since its inception in 5 B.C., given that throughout 2,500 years of democratic exercise, many countries have been rocked with major tremors because of it, but they came out stronger except the Arab world.

Therefore, if we want to strive to learn from the experiences of others, the European communities that managed to develop themselves after a difficult path could form a basis for the Arab world to build on. Unfortunately, Arabs import everything, including democracy but only take the form of democracy and not the concept, which turns to become partisan dictatorship, and not a culture or way of life.

After decades of exercising democracy and elections based on looting and rigging of the people’s will, it has become clear that this system does not suit the Arab world that needs more cultivation and enlightenment on the meaning of democracy.

Nonetheless, monarchy has proven to provide more strength, stability and economic development, citing the one that existed in Egypt in the reign of King Farouq but its image during the republic reign of late Abdul-Nasser, which is no different from the one in Iraq where mass graves and oppression is the language of revolutionists.

The same applies to Sanousi’s Libya, which was one of the wealthiest countries in the world until Colonel Muammar Gaddaficame and destroyed it. The fact is: democracy in the Arab world is just a cover with many holes through which partisan and sectarian conflict passes to gain control.

Therefore, democracy is not a foundation for a nation that cannot stand on its feet as long as electoral laws are tailored in a manner that ends up becoming a booby-trap. Divisive election explodes in the face of anyone who tries to impose the logic of ‘State and Law’, and refuses to yield to the will of weapon or bow before sectarian and tribal fanaticism

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
ahmedaljarallah@gmail.com

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