|THE liberal political movement in Kuwait has honorable history with huge nationalist impact; the names of the majority of liberals were heard in the sixties, seventies and early eighties before the religious movement raided the political scene and dominated it.|
The liberals in Kuwait were known for their patriotism and sincerity in the political movement and agenda, as they strived toward cementing democratic principles in the country and ensured the parliament performed its leading role as the real representative of the people. However, somewhere in the eighties, liberals started losing the political grip to religious movements, including tribal leaders who came to deal with the political situation in a more realistic manner at the time when the country was undergoing a religious renaissance.
After years of trailing behind the liberals, religious figures from the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist movements took the center stage in the political arena, and led many liberals to exit politics to focus on their personal life. The religious political movement continued to dominate the center stage of the country’s politics until 2012 when the majority of its figures decided to exit politics and boycott elections due to changes made by the government in the way elections were conducted with the introduction of one-vote system.
Following the nullification of two parliamentary elections through the single vote system and other factors, demonstrations became the tool of pressure against the government, and the opposition presented their agendas through seminars and protests — some of which turned chaotic and landed its members and supporters in jail.
Exit of the main opposition from the country’s political arena seemed to have created emptiness in the main political players in opposition — apart from Shiite bloc, which also suffered issues of disharmony in its agendas. In reality, there was no opposition force that could keep the government on its toes as observed in the previous parliaments.
A new political renaissance is looming in the horizon, especially in the lines of the liberals, but they still maintain their traditional agendas and have a weak representation in the communal domain. This also applies to the religious political movement, and despite the announcement of their ‘come back’ to the political domain, they focus on the religious parameter of raising suspicion here and there, and talk about social behaviors and stories about “niqabs”.
The liberals could have taken advantage of the absence of religious political movement by presenting more progressive agendas to society, and despite several attempts to do so, the liberals still appear weaker at a time when the religious movement is weak.
The liberals’ representation is also weak in the political scene, which means that most of them are still not ready to return to the political scene, although there are names that have been introduced to the society. The names are not competent to battle the political waves, even though some of them are of well-known individuals and the best in their respective art.
It is sad that agendas presented still lack vigor, overhaul and redress, while the political arena is empty of big names. Instead, it is the same old “ghoul” that continue to determine the positions of politicians with traditional merits that render the political arena a place for stirring suspicion.
Gone are the days when the ideology of liberals was the leader, and not tenders and interests; the days of people such as late Ahmad Al-Rubaie and late Sami Al-Munayes where sincerity and patriotism were the only codes in political activities. I am not a liberal and I will never be one, but there are emerging stars in the liberal front such as Saleh Al-Mulla whose political performance is excellent, despite he’s outside the parliament. However, one hand cannot clap!
The remaining lot of politicians left politics in the hands of names that lack proper bearing in politics and any wind can sweep them away, because ‘only the strongest survives in politics’. Worst of all, the only political tactic they have in their hand is ‘dissent and you will be famous’.
By Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi