Kuwaitis rally ahead of election day

Updated 30 November 2012
0

Kuwaitis rally ahead of election day

KUWAIT: Tens of thousands of people marched in Kuwait yesterday calling for a voter boycott, a day before a parliamentary election that looks unlikely to defuse tensions in the Gulf country.
Political activists and opposition politicians, who have already said they will not contest the election, called the rally to protest at a decree that changed voting rules. They say it will skew the outcome in favor of pro-government candidates.
But Kuwait’s disaffected say they seek democratic reform, not revolution in the mold of Arab Spring revolts elsewhere.
The emir said the amendments to voting rules were made to preserve national security and stability.
Marchers in the “Nation’s Dignity” rally set off at 3 p.m. (1200 GMT) from various locations in Kuwait City, converged on the main, palm tree-lined coastal road and proceeded toward the landmark Kuwait Towers on the northeast side of the capital.
They waved balloons, national flags and banners, wore orange clothing — the color representing the boycott — and sang songs. There was a light police presence and no sign of the armored trucks and riot officers deployed against previous marches.
“I am conscious that there are those who have called for a boycott of the election,” Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said late on Thursday.
“I find this of great regret and I hope to the bottom of my heart that the 400,000-plus Kuwaitis who have the ability to cast their votes for their preferred candidate will exercise their democratic right to do so.”


Transition government, elections to follow weapons decommissioning: New UN envoy's road map for Yemen

Updated 38 min 20 sec ago
0

Transition government, elections to follow weapons decommissioning: New UN envoy's road map for Yemen

  • Martin Griffith the UN special envoy to Yemen hopes to float a new blueprint
  • Yemen's foreign minister said he will work with Houthis as long as weapons are decommissioned

LONDON: The UN special envoy to Yemen has returned to the country armed with a new political settlement to end the ongoing war.

Sources were quoted by Al Sharq Al-Awsat that Martin Griffith the UN special envoy to Yemen hopes to float a new-old blueprint to end the war by getting the parties to agree to a political settlement based on a transitional period to be followed by elections if both parties to the conflict agree to his plan.

Griffith hopes to start political talks without addressing the armed groups and their weapons, in the hope of addressing this sensitive issue later.

The proposed talks center around a negotiation process between a legitimate government and the proponent of the coup carried out by the Houthi militia backed by Iran in September 2015.

Yemen’s foreign minister Andel Malek Al-Mekhlafi said that his government is willing to work with the Houthis in a unity government in a transitional phase, as long as weapons are decommissioned; “so that we don’t legitimize the coup and its gains,” Al-Mekhlafi said.

While Yemen awaits practical steps to apply the UN special envoy’s vision, many experts in Yemen question the Houthi militia’s intent and commitment to any political settlement, with many believing that they will wait for orders from the Iranian government.