First parliament churns out notable achievements
Kuwaitis prepare to head to the polls on November 26 for parliamentary elections that will set in motion the National Assembly’s 15th legislative term. Despite the fact that more than half a century has elapsed since democracy first surfaced in the country, Kuwait’s very first parliamentary election remains the most significant happening in the nation’s history, where on January 23, 1963 the first members of parliament were elected.
Moreover, the inaugural parliamentary elections were contested by a total of 205 candidates, as 50 MPs formed the first parliament which served its first term on January 28, 1963, featuring a lineup comprised of 15 ministers with the late Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah at the helm.
On January 29, 1963, the first parliamentary session was held with Abdulaziz Al-Saqer chosen as National Assembly Speaker and Saud AlAbdulrazzaq as his deputy. Furthermore, in an unprecedented turn of events, a parliament speaker tendered his resignation citing constitutional infractions dealing with ministers occupying other positions while serving their posts. Subsequently, eight MPs followed suit and resigned due to similar constitutional violations.
Meanwhile, Kuwait lost a proponent of democracy when Sheikh Abdullah AlSalem Al-Sabah, a man credited with introducing democracy to the country, passed away on November 24, 1965, as his brother, Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem AlSabah succeeded him to become Kuwait’s 12th ruler.
Parliament’s first legislative term was a highly eventful one, as more than 170 new laws were enacted and 268 suggestions pitched. The laws dealt with issues that ran the gamut from compulsory education and industry to aviation and finance, amongst other notable ones including Kuwait’s entry into the International Parliamentary Union. The end of parliament’s first legislative term paved the way for new elections held on January 25, 1967, which heralded the start of the second term. — KUNA
KUWAIT: An archive photo showing citizens participating in elections to elect the first parliament in Kuwait. — KUNA