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DOES Kuwait really adhere to real democracy, as intended by the norms and theories developed for it and implemented in many countries, through which the society achieves the highest ranks of its dynamics? Or was the current form in Kuwait imposed on us in order to join the United Nations, and taken just to prove that we are better than others?
To answer these questions, we must go back to the circumstances that dictated Kuwait to follow this system. In 1961, when the country gained independence from Britain, the then Soviet Union – an ally of Iraq’s regime of Abdul-Karim Qassem, supported his claim to annex Kuwait, and went to the extent of using veto on Kuwait’s application to join the UN.
At that time, London advised Kuwait on having a constitution, an elected parliament, and a government as a form of democratic rule. Therefore, the Constitutional Assembly embarked on the process of coming up with a constitution. After deliberations that lasted a year long in which every segment of the society wanted to have a piece of the pie, this hybrid system was born.
This system is based on balances that have proven over time to weaken the state. It is clear that society wasn’t prepared for it.
On February 8, 1963, Iraq’s regime of Abdul-Karim Qassem fell, and the Soviet Union’s position changed. This led to the accession of Kuwait to the United Nations on May 14 of the same year, which was recognized by the new Iraqi regime also.
This transformation signified the demise of the external danger, but in return, it contributed to the emergence of an internal danger that manifested itself a year later in the infamous 1964 crisis.
Since then, faults began to appear in the new system. It culminated in the 1967 elections, which turned out to be a time bomb that exploded in everyone’s face. There was a massive voting fraud that took place through buying of votes and nomination of candidates on the basis of tribal and sectarian prestige.
Nine years later, these electoral flaws led to another crisis, which was the unconstitutional dissolution of parliament in 1976. Instead of addressing the causes, each party escalated the matters until they reached a dead end in 1986. Hence the parliament was dissolved for the second time and the constitution got suspended.
The lesson from the brutal Iraqi invasion was very harsh and historical. Instead of learning from that lesson and working on treating all the flaws that led to that disaster, the quota system prevailed in its worst forms, not only in the National Assembly and the government, but even in the smallest jobs. This led to widespread corruption, desecration of the state and the rule of the emirate.
The matter worsened and paved the way for serious attempts to overthrow the government in 2012, by storming the National Assembly building, putting pressure on the judiciary through sit-ins and questioning its integrity. All this seemed similar to an internal invasion rather than exercising freedom of opinion, expression and democracy.
Such events or rather incidents led to the state’s regression at all levels, the absence of projects, and the government’s submission to parliamentary blackmail, which eventually brought about the current miserable situation we are enduring.
Instead of decisiveness, some advisors came forward to call for national dialogue, which means conceding to the outlaws and not holding them accountable.
To be frank, what is required is not a dialogue with them, but firmness in governance, which is what the Kuwaitis seek even if it reaches extreme severity, as everyone will then bow in obedience.
As for this reprehensible call, it will be the beginning of the collapse of the state, for it is considered as the peak of concessions to the Constitution and the law.
Perhaps we should learn from Tunisia where President Kais Saied took bold and resolute decisions that stopped the advance of the Muslim Brotherhood Group on the country’s resources, and their hijacking of the state under the pretext of democracy, which exacerbated the situation and further impoverished the people.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times