Rul­ing fam­ily, lead­ing fig­ures urged to stay away from polls

Re­form ini­tia­tive also calls for change in vot­ing sys­tem

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

KUWAIT: A group of lead­ing per­son­al­i­ties that in­clude for­mer min­is­ters and law­mak­ers, call­ing it­self the Re­form and Na­tional Con­sen­sus Ini­tia­tive Group, yes­ter­day launched a po­lit­i­cal rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ini­tia­tive to end the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in the coun­try’s af­fairs. The ini­tia­tive called on “com­pet­ing mem­bers of the rul­ing fam­ily and other lead­ing fig­ures” to stop in­ter­fer­ing in the elec­tion through “po­lit­i­cal money” and other means that could in­flu­ence the out­come of the par­lia­men­tary polls, al­low­ing them to en­sure the suc­cess of their “can­di­dates” in the elec­tion.

The ini­tia­tive did not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails, but there have been in­creas­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that some in­flu­en­tial fig­ures, in a bid to in­flu­ence the out­come of the polls to serve their in­ter­ests, have pumped mil­lions of di­nars into the process. Al­le­ga­tions of vote-buy­ing and other forms of bribery and cor­rup­tion have been re­peat­edly made, but very few peo­ple have been sent to court over such claims.

The group con­sists of 20 per­son­al­i­ties rep­re­sent­ing var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal schools of thought and in­cludes peo­ple like for­mer jus­tice min­is­ter and deputy speaker Me­shari Al-An­jari, vet­eran politi­cian and for­mer min­is­ter Yousef Al-Nasef, for­mer min­is­ter and MP Ab­dul­wa­hab Al-Haroun, for­mer min­is­ter Ab­dul­wa­hab Al-Waz­zan and sev­eral other dig­ni­taries.

The ini­tia­tive also called on the next Assem­bly and gov­ern­ment to re­view the one-vote vot­ing sys­tem, which was uni­lat­er­ally in­tro­duced by the gov­ern­ment in late 2012. The ini­tia­tive said the out­come of the sin­gle-vote sys­tem led to so­cial frag­men­ta­tion on sec­tar­ian, fam­ily and tribal bases, which is in­ca­pable of build­ing true na­tional unity. The cur­rent elec­tion is be­ing held on the ba­sis of the sin­gle-vote sys­tem for the third time in a row.

The first such elec­tion was held in Dec 2012, but the Assem­bly was dis­solved in June by the con­sti­tu­tional court.

The sec­ond one-vote polls were held in July 2013 and it elected the Assem­bly that was dis­solved last month af­ter three years in of­fice, fol­low­ing a dis­pute be­tween MPs and the gov­ern­ment over hik­ing petrol prices. The group said that they be­lieve that dis­solv­ing the Assem­bly came to end a pe­riod that was marred by short­com­ings and an in­ca­pable Assem­bly and gov­ern­ment, and their fail­ure to face do­mes­tic and ex­ter­nal chal­lenges.

The group also ap­pealed to the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship and to var­i­ous sides to res­cue the coun­try from a state of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion that it has fallen into. The ini­tia­tive called on the gov­ern­ment to firmly curb those who vi­o­late the law among the elec­tion can­di­dates, crack down on bribery and cor­rup­tion and stop il­le­gal ap­point­ments in min­istries based on in­flu­ence.

It called for the elec­tion of ca­pa­ble and qual­i­fied peo­ple and to re­ject those who in­cite so­cial ten­sions and threaten the unity of the so­ci­ety. It also ap­pealed to vot­ers to re­ject all those who were in­volved in cor­rup­tion cases. The ini­tia­tive called for ap­point­ing ca­pa­ble and qual­i­fied peo­ple from the rul­ing fam­ily and the so­ci­ety to the posts of the premier and so-called sov­er­eign Cab­i­net port­fo­lios.

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