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Kuwait oppn firm on boycotting elections
July 9, 2013, 9:33 am
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The Kuwaiti opposition has reiterated its position of boycotting the July 27 election, saying that the single-vote law, which was confirmed by the Constitutional Court last month, has undermined the constitution and aggravated divisions in the society. Speakers at a gathering late Sunday night also called for deeper democratic reforms including a number of constitutional amendments to strengthen democracy in the country.
 
Opposition leader and former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak said that the boycott has become more necessary because the reasons for the first boycott of last December election have remained unchanged. Former opposition MP Faisal Al-Muslim said the boycott is more urgent this time because corruption has become more widespread and obvious than before.
 
Muslim said that the previous National Assembly was dissolved in a bid to boost voter turnover in the next election after attempts to convince merchants and tribes to take part in the election process. The voter turnover in last December election was one of the lowest in Kuwait’s history at just under 40 percent according to the government and at 26 percent according to opposition claims.
 
He added that it will be difficult to make achievements under the current parliamentary system and called for the opposition groups to reach an agreement on the need to forge with necessary constitutional reforms. The opposition has in the recent past called for fundamental democratic reforms to achieve a full multi-party democratic system that requires constitutional amendments which are very difficult to undertake.
 
A member of the scrapped February 2012 Assembly Bader Al-Dahoum said there is essentially no difference between the next and the past polls except in the participation of a number of respected candidates. He said that the boycott of the election must continue in order to foil plots against the will of the people and the constitution. Former MP Jamaan Al-Harbash said that the boycott must continue out of respect for the will of the people and in defense of the dignity of the people.
 
In the meantime, a number of candidates began organizing election campaigns with just over two weeks for the polls with most of the campaigns focusing on the need to achieve political stability in the country. Former MP Youssef Al-Zalzalah expects the next Assembly to be more productive after the single-vote law had been upheld by the Constitutional Court, adding that law has rescued Kuwait from chaos.
 
But Zalzalh described the situation in the country as very dangerous because of the lack of stability, saying that since 2003, Kuwait has had six national assemblies instead of only three. “In the past two years, we had three assemblies and about five governments. No government can perform within just four months. Since 1996, no Kuwaiti cabinet survived more than 30 months and if this trend continues we have to forget about development,” Zalzalh said.
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