Victory of Islamist Parties Marks New Era in Kuwaiti Politics

Article Summary
Islamist candidates have scored a victory in recent elections in Kuwait, which the editors of Al-Qabas have interpreted as in part a backlash against corruption and cronyism in the outgoing government. They warn, however, that the new parliament may prove to be preoccupied with amending the constitution to give a greater role to Sharia law.


In Kuwait a new political era has been launched by the announcement of the results of the 2012 parliamentary elections [that took place in early February]. The most prominent feature of the new political scene is the Islamic movements, which won approximately one third of the seats in the National Assembly [the Kuwaiti Parliament].

There are two [conclusions to be drawn] from this outcome:

First: That it was the Islamic parties that won the confidence of the majority of voters.

Second: That these parties will have to assume that responsibility that they now face as the majority. They carry the burden of implementing [the reforms asked of them by voters], even while the minority has resorted to [attempts to cause] controversy in its desire to have its voice heard.

Since we are discussing this issue, it is worth noting that the first meeting held between the Members of Parliament of the Islamic currents, during the break [i.e. meeting, hosted by Islamist] MP Hayif fi Kabid, has revealed several very disconcerting signals.

It is clear that sacking the [former] government and the dissolution of the parliament succeeded in defusing the crisis that was simmering in Kuwait. However, finding solutions to the [problems] that initially fueled this crisis is the responsibility of the government and the new assembly. They are the ones who face the challenge of bringing [Kuwait] out of this dark tunnel, and restoring Kuwaiti economic and political life to normal.

In casting their votes, Kuwaitis sought to condemn those who dragged them into the crisis, deciding that the solution lay in [the election of new candidates]. They were searching for solutions to corruption, disruption of development and the ongoing deterioration of various sectors [of the Kuwaiti economy]. Voters were much more concerned with these issues rather than with modifications to Article 2 of the Constitution [to read as ‘Islam is the main source of legislation’]. The solution to the crisis [faced by the people] will be achieved by development, reform and the elimination of corruption.

However, these issues were not a major concern for [MP Hayif fi Kabid].  He was primarily preoccupied with amending Article 2 [of the constitution], countering accusations of bargaining leveled at the council, and the council's autonomy over its committees and its office.

The main issue faced by the assembly and the former government was that they proved incapable of prioritizing important issues. What we are in desperate need of [in Kuwait] is [for our politicians] to work together on goals which all have agreed upon. These goals should be realistic and feasible in order to save the country from its suffering, rectify what has been sabotaged [by corruption and parliamentary misconduct] and overcome the limitations of partisanship.

Even though it is constitutional to do so, talk of amending Article 2 given the current circumstances does not help [the new government’s] main purpose, which is solving the crisis. What is required now is fast action in terms of implementing new legislation that will help solve the crisis. [The type of legislation we need] is exemplified by the [anti-graft draft bill] that was put forth by the government and referred to the parliament.

For [the new MPs to engage in] purposeful measures will protect the country from any escalation of the crisis, and from the lobbying [of special interests]. It will also eliminate concerns over freedoms - as opposed to reinforcing them - and will unite the ranks [of the people] instead of dividing them.

Certain observers believe that the new parliament’s time in power will be largely related [to the new majority’s ability to tackle these pressing issues]. [These observers] also consider that the government will need to remain in power for a minimum amount of time if it is to be successful in achieving the required reforms.

Do the MPs of the Islamic trend understand the message sent by the Kuwaiti people during the 2012 elections? Or have they become proud and vain following the elections, planning to make the same mistakes committed by the former assembly? Will they distracting the country with issues and laws that do not represent the priorities [of the people]?


Found in: islamists

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