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CONSTITUTIONS were designed to express the identity of societies and to organize the political life of states. Therefore, there is always room for improvement as necessary, especially after discovering their inability to solve crises that arise from clashes between text and practice.
On this basis, the French Constitution was amended several times until the fifth republic was declared. In the United States of America, the constitution was amended 27 times, with the aim of further strengthening its institutions, and making more room for the expansion of public freedoms.
The same thing happened in Britain, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, India and other countries that have been able to develop themselves by modernizing their constitutions.
Only static, fragile and weak states turn calls to make major crisis amendments, sometimes reaching civil wars, because there are parties that see constitutional loopholes as a source of strength for them. That is why those states retreated and could not keep pace with development, but instead lagged further and came close to isolation even from their surroundings.
Unfortunately, Kuwait is one of those countries that could not overcome the obstacle to developing itself. The constitution recognized the necessity of this five years after its enactment, and legislators established a clear mechanism for this matter, but it did not work.
In fact, crises continued due to the wrong interpretations of its articles, or the lack of clarity in the relationship between the legislative and executive authorities, or the significant change in the demographic structure from what it was in the early 1960s when the Constituent Assembly drafted this state regulatory document.
These challenges caused the dissolution of the National Assembly several times, and the suspension of some articles of the constitution twice.
Also, after the liberation, the relationship between the government and the Parliament turned into a continuous struggle between two fronts, which led to a significant social, economic and political decline. This was due to the adoption of laws that fundamentally contradict the letter and spirit of the constitution, and the nature of society.
At that stage, social and political conditions imposed the great popular demand to make the powers of the House of Government a constitutional text, and restricted the ruler within specific frameworks, at a time when it was more appropriate to draw lessons from practices to develop the text in line with contemporary social and political needs.
Most countries solved this problem through the so-called “two-chamber Parliament”, i.e. an elected Parliament, and another consultative one, either appointed by the ruler or the people elected half of it.
However, in Kuwait, adherence to not amending the constitution unfortunately led to the exacerbation of crises, especially in light of the almost continuous change in the electoral system that sometimes enhances the influence of political, tribal and sectarian forces at the expense of the society as a whole.
Irrespective of the status given to that document, in the end, it remains just a text that can be modified, and does not acquire any sanctity because “to err is human”.
Therefore, it has become very important, especially after a series of crises that the country has witnessed due to the stagnation of the constitution, to work on amending and developing it in a manner that is appropriate.
The two-chamber system should be established, i.e. a senate, or you name it what you like, appointed by the ruler, in addition to an elected parliament. They have the power to pass laws and legislations, because otherwise, Kuwait will come out of a crisis to enter another that is more complex. This will lead to further weakening of the state and its grip, and increase in the power of tribes and sects.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times