Kuwait Opposition Renews Call for Elections Boycott

Article Summary
The Kuwaiti opposition has expressed its rejection of a decree to amend the electoral law, and has renewed calls to boycott the upcoming elections. As protests grow, there are more reports of activitsts being detained.

The Kuwaiti opposition renewed its rejection of a decree to amend the electoral law in a protest held yesterday [Nov. 18] in Irada Square. It also called upon popular committees in different provinces to boycott the poll, and launch a series of seminars to urge citizens to start the boycott as of Monday [Nov. 19].

Meanwhile, the Supreme National Electoral Commission, headed by Counsel Ahmed al-Ojeil has decided to write off 38 candidates at once for not fulfilling one of the candidacy conditions, including several former MPs considered “pro-government.”

Regarding the preparations for the elections, undersecretary of the Ministry of Information Sheikh Salman Hamoud said that the ministry is in the process of preparing all the necessary equipment to cover the elections. He added that as of Nov. 21, the ministry will open an information center that will be dedicated to press and media activities and conferences of interest to the organizers of the elections, in order to demonstrate the efforts and services offered.

Moreover, Hamoud said that the ministry will invite a number of international media outlets to follow up on the 2012 elections. It will also allocate a television channel for covering the electoral process, in addition to a radio station that will be launched later this month.

Former speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Jassem al-Kharafi expressed his respect for those who will boycott the elections.

“We respect all opinions and points of views. Those who wish to boycott the elections will not be stopped, nor will those who want to head to the poll,” Kharafi said. He added that “this is not the first time elections are boycotted in the country and it will not be the last. This will not affect the elections and we are not worried about it. This is democracy.

“We will carry out the elections. A large number of candidates were nominated. I hope voters will choose the best people to represent us in the Assembly for the next four years,” Hamoud added.

Former MP Mohammad Saker confirmed that he will not participate in the elections. He settled on his decision following the issuance of the decree to amend the election law. The former MP stressed that his position is line with the constitutional and national principles.

Saker added that he refused to budge on his decision, despite the pressure that has been put on him to run in the current elections. However, he appreciated all the calls and contacts that were made in a bid to dissuade him.

On the other hand, former MP Marzouq al-Ghanim said that, along with a group of citizens and former MPs, he will go to the Constitutional Court to challenge the current elections.

“Opposing the amendment of the election law is the legitimate right of every citizen, provided that it does not violate the law and the constitution under the pretext of preserving it. Opposing the amendment cannot be achieved by accusing the dissenting voices of treason. This should be done through constitutional channels so as to prevent those who are working according to undeclared agendas from achieving their destructive goals, which lie in leading people with good intentions astray and take advantage of the government’s many mistakes,” he said.

“We fully oppose any prejudice against the emir. We also reject any confusion between the exercise of constitutional rights to the highest legitimate level, and prejudice against the head of state.

“We shall never be advocates of an opposition that would muzzle freedom of opinion and expression or violate the constitution under the pretext of defending it,” Ghanim added.

Ghanim urged all Kuwaitis of all stripes to head to the polls and exercise their democratic right to elect their representatives in the parliament, and to place the interest of Kuwait above any other consideration. He added that Kuwait is full of people with qualifications and potential, who are capable of carrying the banner of responsibility.

On another note, four tweeters were sent to the central prison yesterday [Nov. 18]. Former MPs and jurists demanded to visit the incarcerated tweeters in order to corroborate reports indicating that the prisoners are in poor health due to a hunger strike. However, they were prevented from any visitation, which according to them raises doubts as to the validity of such claims.

Found in: election boycott, election

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