Chal­lenges ahead of the elec­tions

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - muna@kuwait­

Kuwait will hold elec­tions on Nov 26 amid com­plex in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal chal­lenges, with its out­come un­known. This elec­tion will bring about many changes, es­pe­cially with the re­turn of se­nior for­mer op­po­si­tion fig­ures. This is why the re­sults of this elec­tion may re­draw the po­lit­i­cal sce­nario of the fu­ture.

On Oct 16, early elec­tions were called. It was sur­pris­ing news amid many in­ter­pre­ta­tions and pub­lic com­plaints about the per­for­mance of the As­sem­bly. The dis­so­lu­tion of the As­sem­bly brought hope and op­ti­mism for a change in the par­lia­men­tary scene. There is no bet­ter time to make prom­ises than now.

The in­ter­est­ing and im­por­tant as­pect is the re­turn of many op­po­nents of the one-vote sys­tem, de­spite crit­i­ciz­ing this process openly and loudly for many years. It shows they are reeval­u­at­ing their po­lit­i­cal agen­das. I still think the one-vote sys­tem is the best. It did not serve the in­ter­ests and the elec­toral ar­range­ments of some, but at least it brought some change.

The As­sem­bly has faced sev­eral crises an­nu­ally since 2006. The Kuwaiti par­lia­men­tary ex­pe­ri­ence is the old­est in the Gulf, as the first par­lia­men­tary elec­tion was held in 1963. But, with many ups and downs in po­lit­i­cal life, the par­lia­men­tary arena saw many dif­fer­ences and was dis­solved nine times from 1976 till 2016. This is too much. Kuwait has gone back­wards tremen­dously dur­ing this pe­riod.

The re­peated dis­so­lu­tions are not pos­i­tive at all for Kuwait’s rep­u­ta­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally and po­lit­i­cally and the process of re­form and de­vel­op­ment. To­day, while all GCC states are mak­ing great strides so­cially, po­lit­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally, Kuwait only looks at the rear, which is un­for­tu­nate and sad. I am asked by many peo­ple why Kuwait is on the re­treat. I have no answer. I don’t know whom to blame it is like a chain and no one is in­no­cent.

The ob­vi­ous im­bal­ance in de­mo­graph­ics cre­ates in­ter­nal prob­lems of dual loy­alty and af­fil­i­a­tion. This means that vot­ers give pref­er­ence to per­sonal in­ter­ests in the se­lec­tion of the can­di­dates for the Na­tional As­sem­bly, amid spec­u­la­tion and ru­mors to the pos­si­bil­ity of the elec­tions be­ing scrapped. The Kuwaiti op­po­si­tion lacks lead­er­ship in the ab­sence of their im­pris­oned leader, so peo­ple feel that there is no clear agenda. But they express and con­firm the re­jec­tion of cor­rup­tion in all sem­i­nars.

Women seem al­most ab­sent from the elec­tions with no in­flu­ence on the po­lit­i­cal arena. There are a few women in the race who ap­par­ently do not have com­mon agree­ment be­tween them­selves, and it doesn’t seem that they are re­ceiv­ing sup­port from the so­ci­ety. Of course, they have ideas, but the sit­u­a­tion is com­plex. This is my opin­ion and an un­for­tu­nate re­al­ity for women in 2016.

The gov­ern­ment will try to con­vince peo­ple of the im­por­tance of lift­ing sub­si­dies grad­u­ally, es­pe­cially in light of the bud­get deficit. But I do not think it will be easy. Vot­ers will be back on Nov 26, but ques­tions will re­main over the fu­ture of the elec­tion process, or a pos­si­ble new dis­so­lu­tion.

By Muna Al-Fuzai


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