Security, military banned from election campaigns

CITIZENSHIP ISSUE KEY IN 2024 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

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KUWAIT CITY, March 30: Instructions have been issued to ban security personnel in the Ministry of Interior and military personnel in Kuwait Army from participating in the campaign headquarters of candidates for the National Assembly elections, reports Al-Seyassah daily. According to informed sources, whoever violates these instructions exposes himself to legal accountability, disciplinary actions, and court martial. They explained that Article 13 of Law No. 32/1967 regarding the army and its amendments stipulates, “Military personnel are prohibited from engaging in politics. They are also prohibited from joining any association or union other than those designated for the army, except with written permission from the Chief of Staff of Army.” The sources added that the Police Force Law also prohibits members of the police force from engaging in politics.

Most 2024 National Assembly election candidates have included the citizenship issue in their electoral programs. Former MP and Fourth Constituency candidate Obaid Mohammad Al-Wasmi has vowed to submit a bill on allowing the court to rule on citizenship cases. He pointed out that the Kuwaiti citizenship is the only citizenship in the world covered by a resolution issued by the United Nations Security Council based on the documents submitted by the government during the Iraqi occupation. He said the government at the time submitted the records of citizens and expatriates; indicating the resolution covered the citizens who existed on Nov 27, 1990. He asked HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and acting Minister of Interior Sheikh Fahad Yousef Saud Al-Sabah if they are aware of the consequences of doubting the documents submitted by the government during the Iraqi occupation – the basis of the issuance of tens of international resolutions concerning the legitimacy of Kuwait. He showed a map of Kuwait based on the borders adopted before 1920 — the year specified for regarding everyone whose permanent residence is Kuwait as Kuwaiti citizens.

“The map of Kuwait in 1914 covered parts of land larger than today and included cities and places that no longer belong to Kuwait, as they are now part of neighboring countries,” he added. He then inquired if it is acceptable that the people living in those areas are considered Kuwaiti citizens. Moreover, the campaign period will end on April 2; while April 3, the day before election is a ‘silent day’ when candidates and media are not allowed to campaign. The 2024 National Assembly elections, scheduled on April 4, is considered the second elections held during the holy month of Ramadan in Kuwait’s parliamentary history, Kuwaiti media figures noted. In interviews with KUNA, they noted that the first election held during Ramadan was for the 14th legislative term on July 27, 2013, whereas a by-election was also held during Ramadan in the 10th constituency on December 7, 2000. The editor-in-chief of Al-Anbaa Newspaper Youssef Al-Marzouq said that the holy month of Ramadan has special rituals and traditions and this is the second Ramadan to witness elections following the 2013 National Assembly elections. He added that based on previous experience, fasting does not affect active participating in the democratic process as the turnout in the 2013 elections held in July reached about 52 percent although it was held during summer break and people were fasting. He continued that the Kuwaiti voter is aware of the importance of taking part in the elections for the country’s higher interests and it is no surprise that Kuwaiti citizens are committed to their national entitlement. He continued that the fatigue of fasting will not stop the Kuwaitis from performing their electoral and national duties, and voting will not have an impact on their worshipping and prayer rituals, stressing that Kuwait deserves their full commitment. For his part, mass communications professor at Kuwait University (KU) Dr. Khaled Al-Qehs said that due to the special rituals of Ramadan, social media play an important role in the electoral process for both the candidates and voters. He added that many Kuwaitis prefer to be in the country among their families during Ramadan therefore it could result in a higher turnout during elections day.

He stressed the importance that the candidates directly connect with their voters and focus on creating a mature media message in social media platforms and establishing a unique campaign on news platforms. He noted that a well planned media and electoral plan is required on elections days by the candidates’ campaigns to encourage the participation of the voters. Dheiran Aba Al-Khail, Secretary General of Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA), said the voters were occupied at the start of Ramadan with social activities which delayed the launch of campaign of candidates. Candidates, he said, should urge all voters to participate in the upcoming elections and to vote to whoever they see would honor their aspirations. He said candidates should raise awareness among voters in importance of what he considered “national duty.” Aba Al-Khail urged candidates to convey their messages through all kinds of media. The Ministry of Justice formed Thursday a field team supervised by Undersecretary Hashem Al-Qallaf to prepare 123 schools to be premises for 764 polling stations for the upcoming National Assembly elections slated for April 4. Five schools would be allocated for the five main electoral committees and 118 schools for polling stations in the five constituencies: 16 for the first one, 18 for the second, 22 for the third, 28 for the fourth and 34 for the fifth, the Ministry said in a statement.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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