Kuwait: Who is the authority?



Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Published — Wednesday 14 November 2012

Last update 14 November 2012 1:59 pm

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When talking about political crisis in Kuwait you feel as if you are in Lebanon. Whenever you look for a solution, you go into more complex labyrinths.
One reason for the complexity lies in the fact that it is a modern political system built on old standards. In Lebanon, there are elections, but it does not matter who gets more votes, the president of the republic is always Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the head of representatives is Shiite.
Then, nearly 1,000 government positions are allocated according to this spiral ladder. In Kuwait, irrespective of the outcome of the vote, the Parliament remains the opponent of government and therefore the crisis perpetuates.
I do not want to go into the current Kuwaiti controversy for a very simple reason. I am unable to understand it despite listening to a lot of friends and lot of intensive reading about the developments there. In my opinion, the most important thing that can be said is not who is right or wrong, but who is governing, i.e. what is the reference in the Kuwaiti political conflict.
Is it the prince, or the Constitutional Court, or the judiciary, or the Parliament itself, or the street? Having differences is very natural in a vibrant community such as Kuwait, but who will take decisions when there is a dispute about keeping districts to one or 20, or disagreement about the elector having one voice or four, the powers of the Parliament, and a great deal more to follow?
I know that the Constitutional Court is the reference for most countries with a democratic approach. Of course, the prince deserves all respect for he is the symbol of the system as a whole. But he had accepted “constitutionalism” in the previous row. Some of the opposition parties refuse to refer to it and want to maximize the role of the National Assembly, thus eliminating the balance of power, which is the basis of any political system in the world. The last option, which is the street as the reference, it virtually eliminates the existing system. This happens in only one case: When the revolution can cancel statutory references.
High emotions in Kuwait today are reminiscent of the beginnings of the last year in Egypt where the whole commotion was on behalf of “the people.” Many now recognize the errors of their beginnings and are trying to correct it, but it’s too late because elections of the presidency and the inauguration of the government and Parliament all took place before agreeing on a proper constitution.
Kuwait has the desire for reform, but reform must be preceded by acceptance of a constitutional reference. There are too many disputes, even though the opposition is consistent in their arguments against the government. They still bicker among themselves. Some have limited objections, such as the number of circuits and votes. Some have much more comprehensive objections on the system. They want to amend who holds the power and make Parliament the legislature and governor.
Between these two points is a large distance, and are further still from the third point, which is a political system based on leadership. This is why who governs the state is important to resolve, so that all differences can be solved. Without respect for the constitution, Kuwait would become chaotic and it may lose all that it has built from political developments over the past 50 years.
All observers know that most of those protesters who took to the street are already part of the political system, and must care to maintain it, develop it and not destroy it.
In the end, it is the Kuwaiti people themselves will be far angrier if later they discovered that the escalation was merely a political action that did not lead to the development of Kuwait, and blame would fall upon executives and legislators.

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