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IT is not enough to have integrated legislative frameworks and popular elections for the legislative authority in order to claim that we are a democratic state. This is due to the fact that the infrastructure is not based on this kind of natural hierarchy of power and government.
In countries governed by the outcome of parliamentary elections, the majority party becomes the ruler. If it is a monarchy, the prime minister is appointed from the majority, similar to Britain. If it is a republic, the president and government come from the most representative party.
In those countries, there are long social and economic experiences based mainly on the dissolution of religious, sectarian and tribal ties and economic monopolies. Political parties are the ones that express the mood of a group of people. Consequently, they constitute the executive and legislative authorities.
In the countries whose experiences are still at an early stage, these frameworks must be exposed to error because those in charge of the legislative and executive authorities do not work according to what the constitution stipulates. They instead seek to adapt the text to serve their interests. Because of that, democracy suffers setbacks, and if it is not addressed by the right methods, corruption, which is the root of all disasters, starts to spread.
This is what happened in Kuwait. It had a successful parliamentary experience for a few years, but it relapsed after several attempts by those who did not like this type of rule. They began working on restoring tribal influence, and factional differentiation on the basis of wealth, and stirring up sectarian strife until the situation we see today, which is not promising at all.
This is especially after the members of the legislative authority indirectly overstepped their constitutional limits, and possessed under disguise the powers of the executive authority, which has proven through many experiences that it is too weak to protect itself and its powers.
As a result of this, we have in recent years seen 51 “amirs” – the legitimate Amir who is the head of all authorities in Bayan Palace, and the 50 “amirs” in the National Assembly. Any of them can stop legislative life and disrupt the government at any moment by submitting an interpellation against the prime minister or any minister.
In this regard, instead of political life going on in its normal manner as is the case in Britain where ministers are grilled on a weekly basis, the search for illegal means to rescue the minister or the prime minister has become the main concern of the government and the parliament.
In the past three decades, these interpellations used to end in clandestine deals, through which the MPs gain job appointments and financial facilities at the expense of public money and state institutions. The only thing that the government gains is the continuation of a minister in his position. This is what paved the way for greater corruption, which today has become dominant in all state institutions.
All of this is because the MPs are elected through tribal or sectarian muscles, or both. The partisan agenda can be added on top of that, all of which are a source of strength for the MP.
Unfortunately, the most dangerous thing in this matter is the entry of some members of the ruling family on the line, and their quest to give priority to one party over another in order to achieve personal objectives based on the struggle between some wings of the ruling family for influence, something which they are not supposed to do, and is hence exacerbating the current situation.
This comes especially after the majority of Kuwaitis sensed an explicit inability of the two authorities to perform their role to serve the people and the state, and the inability of the Council of Ministers to perform its role properly, which made the MPs more powerful than the government.
It is clear to everyone that we will not be able to change a society that adheres to its political and social habits with regard to parliamentary representation, until after a long time, but there is a lot that can be done to stop corruption, and reform institutions.
One of the first steps in this regard is to choose the competent people who have the ability to exercise their powers without any concessions. In the ruling family, there are many figures who can be relied upon. If this is not available, then Kuwait has many of such kind and has a lot of experiences and capabilities.
Kuwait is the homeland of everyone, and everyone who is loyal to it must play his role from any position, whether in the presidency of the Council of Ministers or the ministries. He must abandon the mentality of “this is the only person of integrity in this country”, which has caused all the political, economic and social diseases that we suffer from.
A long time ago, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman and Bahrain solved this problem by establishing correct frameworks for governance through wise and prudent procedures.
They distributed responsibilities accurately, placed the right man in the right place, and exercised strict control over the performance of officials. Hence, you find that the decision in it is one, and there is no multiplicity of its sources.
This is because the goal is to strengthen the homeland and enhance social peace and the strength of the economy. This is not the case in Kuwait, where there are multiple authorities that clash instead of cooperate, and this pushes us to the end of the road.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times