Elections 2016Kuwait

Ruling family, leading figures urged to stay away from polls

Reform initiative also calls for change in voting system

KUWAIT: A group of leading personalities that include former ministers and lawmakers, calling itself the Reform and National Consensus Initiative Group, yesterday launched a political reconciliation initiative to end the deterioration in the country’s affairs. The initiative called on “competing members of the ruling family and other leading figures” to stop interfering in the election through “political money” and other means that could influence the outcome of the parliamentary polls, allowing them to ensure the success of their “candidates” in the election.

The initiative did not provide further details, but there have been increasing accusations that some influential figures, in a bid to influence the outcome of the polls to serve their interests, have pumped millions of dinars into the process. Allegations of vote-buying and other forms of bribery and corruption have been repeatedly made, but very few people have been sent to court over such claims.

The group consists of 20 personalities representing various political schools of thought and includes people like former justice minister and deputy speaker Meshari Al-Anjari, veteran politician and former minister Yousef Al-Nasef, former minister and MP Abdulwahab Al-Haroun, former minister Abdulwahab Al-Wazzan and several other dignitaries.

The initiative also called on the next Assembly and government to review the one-vote voting system, which was unilaterally introduced by the government in late 2012. The initiative said the outcome of the single-vote system led to social fragmentation on sectarian, family and tribal bases, which is incapable of building true national unity. The current election is being held on the basis of the single-vote system for the third time in a row. The first such election was held in Dec 2012, but the Assembly was dissolved in June by the constitutional court.

The second one-vote polls were held in July 2013 and it elected the Assembly that was dissolved last month after three years in office, following a dispute between MPs and the government over hiking petrol prices. The group said that they believe that dissolving the Assembly came to end a period that was marred by shortcomings and an incapable Assembly and government, and their failure to face domestic and external challenges.

The group also appealed to the political leadership and to various sides to rescue the country from a state of deterioration that it has fallen into. The initiative called on the government to firmly curb those who violate the law among the election candidates, crack down on bribery and corruption and stop illegal appointments in ministries based on influence.

It called for the election of capable and qualified people and to reject those who incite social tensions and threaten the unity of the society. It also appealed to voters to reject all those who were involved in corruption cases. The initiative called for appointing capable and qualified people from the ruling family and the society to the posts of the premier and so-called sovereign Cabinet portfolios.

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