Electoral campaign funding
In democratic countries, an independent authority supervising the elections sets a maximum limit on the cost of an electoral campaign per candidate, then in collaboration with the integrity and corruption combating authority, they audit each campaign and examine the details of such funding, so that the high cost of electoral campaigning does not deprive people with limited income and the poor from competing with rich and wealthy candidates who can address voters and affect and alter their choices.
This authority also questions the sources of extravagant spending during the short period of the elections. In addition, it demands financial disclosure from all the winners in order to prevent them from utilizing their public positions in making personal gains and illegal fortunes.
Things are very different here in Kuwait. There is hardly any control on how funds are spent during the elections. Nobody knows the sources of these funds, which spoils the election process and does not make it a real reflection of the people’s will, because the chances of richer candidates who own fortunes with unidentified official sources are incomparable with those of others. In addition, we are always in an awkward position in view of the unfair election law, the political chaos, government interference, political money and sectarian polarization, with the result that the outcome of the process does not really reflect the people’s will.
Questioning the sources of funding and the purpose of spending those fortunes gains a great deal of importance if we take into consideration that some electoral campaigns cost over a million dinars. In other words, what makes some candidates spend KD 1 million or even KD 200,000 on a campaign? Some of them never give up and keep trying again and again, though the salary they will get if they succeed is not more than KD 3,000 a month, a total of KD 144,000 during a full tenure if the parliament does not get dissolved earlier!
Is this because most candidates know that the new position will earn them double of what they will ever spend, especially in the absence of the ‘Where did you get that from’ law? The new position will also give some of them the prestige they seek in order to achieve personal gains and distribute economic benefits according to power balances. Previous experiences have proved that profiteering from public funds prevails within certain groups and that people who had nothing to do with politics or public work and who had been financially and socially modest before the elections suddenly become millionaires once they make it to the parliament. How come?! — Translated by Kuwait Times