KUWAIT CITY, Nov 23: Diwaniyas have always played a big part in the local political arena, especially during parliamentary elections; but the nature of their function has changed as social media made it easier for the public to access the latest information or developments.
Speaking to reporters about this subject, seasoned parliamentary election candidates agreed on this change. They pointed out it was simpler in the olden days when candidates had similar goals, while stressing that diwaniyas still play a significant role in elections despite the technological developments in social media. Abdulrahman Al-Kandari, a citizen who affirmed that he will vote on Saturday, asserted diwaniyas are among the important aspects of social and political life in the Middle East. “The diwaniya is considered a small assembly or venue for forums where social, cultural and political ideas are shared and discussed,” he said.
He pointed out diwaniyas have a strong infl uence on the Kuwaiti public, such that ambassadors of some countries to Kuwait are keen on visiting diwaniyas to be updated with the latest developments in the local scene.
Meanwhile, Fourth Constituency Mohammed Al-Dehani thinks the social media is a double edged sword as it has the power to convey a message to a large number of people within a short span of time, but it could also be a source of misinterpretations or misconceptions. “In the past, your message as a candidate was passed only through social interactions; thereby, it was more accurate, genuine and simple,” he explained.
In another development, Third Constituency candidate Mohamed Al-Jabri has called for reduction of the required service period for compulsory retirement to 15 years for women and 20 years for men in a bid to address the unemployment problem. He alleged the rights of women have been stolen due to the early retirement program designed for them to take care of their children and the entire family, indicating this also applies to men especially since unemployment among Kuwaiti youths has been increasing at an alarming rate. He then unveiled his plan to prioritize this issue in case he wins a parliamentary seat.
Furthermore, Second Constituency candidate Anwar Jawad Bukhamseen asserted the people of Kuwait are angry due to the poor performance of the legislature, attributing this to some personalities’ domination of parliamentary seats for a long period just to achieve personal goals. In order to solve this issue, he suggested limiting the tenure of MPs to two legislative terms or setting an age limit in order to pump new blood into the legislative institution. He intends to present such a proposal if he wins in the election. Talking about the suffering of Kuwaiti youths, Bukhamseen said there is a problem in terms of economic performance due to failure to implement laws like the Built-Operate- Transfer (BOT) system; while more than 30 projects have yet to be completed and this delay has contributed to the deterioration of services offered to the public.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff