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Wednesday , April 14 2021

Kuwait, where to?

Ahmad-jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

WITHIN five days of starting the electoral registration process, the number of people wishing to run for a seat reached about 300. This number might be double on the last day of registration.

Such huge turnout of electoral aspirants calls into question the reason behind this enthusiasm to run for parliamentary seats. This phenomenon also makes us wonder whether all these aspirants are competent in legislation and oversight duties, or if it is just a ploy to weaken parliamentary work.

Undoubtedly, Kuwait’s elections, compared to other advanced democracies, seems to be crawling, and its outcome is modest. This is due to the fact that these elections are based on tribal, family and sectarian tensions, and lack tangible progressive election programs.

Therefore, in the past decades, we have seen many setbacks in the legislative work that made the country retrogress instead of progress.

The legislators do not work according to the principles of their duties for which they were elected. They instead advocate the aspirations and agendas of the influentials and their “pals”.

This is why they produce weird laws, which are outdated, and worst of all, are in violation of international charters and norms.

In actual democracies, there are two councils or rather assemblies – the senate and the elected representatives.

In those two assemblies, any law that goes through natural stages before its adoption gets scrutinized, if not examined, to ensure its added value in the development of the society and national economy.

However, in Kuwait because the assemblies are charged with sectarianism, tribalism and partisanship, the output of the legislations are characterized by medieval ideas, such as banning coeducation, which is one of the legislation that is considered outdated even in countries more backward than Kuwait.

The quality of such legislation negatively affects freedom of opinion and expression even though they are guaranteed in the Constitution, and also laws that shrink the economic activities and only benefit a certain group of influentials.

In this regard, it is worth wondering why investors are turning away from Kuwait. what is worse is that there are laws that encourage family disintegration.

It is also worth wondering if this is the democracy that we were promised since 1962, and if those who manage to win the elections have integrity and competence, and are not polluted with corruption. Or in other words, are they qualified to be entrusted to serve the people of this nation?

If they were of such good quality, then why is corruption rampant? Who facilitated “wasta” which has encroached into all state institutions? Who hired incompetent employees in government positions, or mediated a criminal before he was referred to court?

Why did the bribery scandal emerge if the parliamentarians were righteous in their practice? Who wasted billions on several major projects in Kuwait because he did not obtain a share in them, or because an influential person ordered him to do so?

Isn’t this the outcome of the elections that take place according to the principle of “O please pal” and then throw the minds of the voters?

There is no explanation for this increase in the turnout of electoral aspirants without having an incentive to do so. A testimony to that are the scandals exposed in the past years, and how the MPs have grown rich, powerful and influential through the parliamentary seats.

Of course, this is an indication that Kuwait has not yet reached democratic maturity. Amid these clumsy show offs and exposed scandals, there is a question that must be asked – Where is the country heading to and what fate awaits its people?

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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