Civil society rejects foreign poll observers

The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s National Integrity Society said yesterday it rejects allowing foreign observers to monitor the Dec 5 general elections and enter polling stations. Authorities have invited around 200 Kuwaiti observers from civil societies, in addition to 11 observers from several Arab countries to monitor the elections.

Head of the National Integrity Society Mohammad Al-Otaibi said Kuwait’s well-established constitutional system is more qualified than testimony by foreign observers. He said the Cabinet has not given observers authorization to enter polling stations, adding that a team from his society is ready to take part in the polls.

Meanwhile, the court of cassation yesterday delayed until today its ruling on the disqualification of a number of candidates, including leading opposition member and former MP Bader Al-Dahoum. Dahoum and 33 other candidates were disqualified by an interior ministry commission supervising the elections.

The candidates were barred from running in the polls mostly over financial issues, but also over political issues. A number of opposition candidates were gathering at the house of Dahoum as a token of support for him. More than 20 candidates, including former MPs, have signed a statement condemning attempts to prevent Dahoum from contesting the elections.

The higher election commission said yesterday that 1,185 judges will supervise the election. Judges will head all principal and secondary polling stations, both for men and women. Over 100 schools have been prepared as polling stations, spread all over the five constituencies.

Candidates have called for deep political reforms in the government and the National Assembly as well. Islamist candidate Waleed Al-Ghanem, running from the third constituency, called for wide-scale reforms at the National Assembly, saying it should start by changing the speaker following a bad experience over the past eight years.

“We need the speaker of the assembly to represent the people and to speak on their behalf,” he said. In addition, the Assembly office must be reformed and the government should stop interfering in the election of Assembly panels, he said.

MP Thamer Al-Suwait, bidding for re-election from the fourth constituency, said Kuwait is passing through a series of dangers including rampant corruption and the penetration of the “deep state” into all institutions. He said the country has seen a retreat in almost everything including education, infrastructure, housing and others, and” now we are facing a chronic budget deficit amid a lack of proper planning by the government”.

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