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THE executive authority plays the Constitution restriction card, and feels the need to refer matters to Parliament whenever the economic and social crisis in the country intensifies, when there are no prospects for a solution, and whenever there are popular demands for the government to act and find a way out of the crisis.
It is as if Kuwait were the only country that has a Constitution, due to which the two authorities – executive and legislative – consider it holy and untouchable.
It is this method of dealing with national issues that has brought the country to such a level of backwardness and loss of ability to reform. The truth is that any text developed by human beings is subject to modification and improvement with the passage of time. It is not rational to assume that whatever was written in 1961 is still effective in the current era.
Nonetheless, the crisis that Kuwait is currently going through has only two options – either surrender to the stagnation of the constitutional text and thus not resist the changes of time leading to regression, or seek to rescue by amending the Constitution and using the mechanisms available to prevent parliamentary overreach in crawling and usurping the powers of the government, and making it a means of blackmail, not only against the ministers and their boss, but also against all Kuwaitis.
Perhaps what was revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic concerning the deterioration of the two aspects – economic and social – is an historical occasion to open the eyes wide open. It is also an opportunity to work on developing not only the Constitution but all laws, in line with the developments witnessed globally in the past six decades in terms of how countries achieved realistic results in addressing their economic situations, and adopting them to start the process of getting out of the financial hardship that casts a shadow over everything in Kuwait.
We would not have reached such a financial predicament if the relevant authorities had taken the right path in investing sovereign funds both at home and abroad, and learned from the experiences of other countries such as the United States of America, Britain and France during the 2008 financial crisis, or their economic and financial response to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of the support and motivation that these countries gave over the past months.
It wouldn’t have hurt if our government had at least learned from its Gulf sisters – Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar – in terms of utilizing their sovereign funds to increase their foreign investments when the prices of shares, real estate and companies relapsed. This had benefited them and increased their sovereign wealth, which enabled them to emerge from the crisis stronger. If our government did that, we wouldn’t have been in this current situation.
Unfortunately, most of the observers of the political affairs in the country are convinced that we are faced with a government that left its affairs unchecked and that distanced itself away, proving that it fears every scream that comes from either the parliament or the social media. However, it has many tools that would enable it to work with ease away from fearing a glimpse of former MP Muhammad Hayef, or a wink from the current MP Obaid Al-Wasmi and others, or a post by an influential person on Twitter, or a video on Facebook.
Your Highness, if the National Assembly is actually the obstacle, then you have the authority to dissolve it, or even shut it down so that things can settle, and necessary reforms can take place in order to reach a modern state that is open to the world economically and socially, so that we will not find ourselves eating our own flesh in the near future if the government remains hesitant, fearful and stagnant.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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