Kuwait democracy sets pioneering model: Academics

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s democracy is considered to be an advanced, pioneering and developed example in the entire Arab region, and provides inspiration for promoting political involvement between the ruler and the ruled, academics and activists opined. Democracy in Kuwait is the culmination of genuine competitive elections that grant the National Assembly actual power in spite of some obstacles and challenges, they said in separate remarks to KUNA.

Kuwait’s democratic experiment has been different from other democracies since it was created in the Gulf country, given that deep-rooted democracy in the society has reflected on the behavior that controls the relationship between the ruler and the ruled, said Dr Ahmad Al-Shareef, a professor of media and public relations at Kuwait University. Since the people of Kuwait pledged allegiance to Al-Sabah Family in 1972, a political system has been based on the shura (consultation) principle and democratization, he added.

The State of Kuwait saw its maiden electoral experiment in 1930 through its municipal council, when people began to lay the foundations of societal development, the professor pointed out. Formed in 1962, the Constituent Assembly was actually the milestone in the country’s democratization, having been mainly tasked with the formulation of the constitution and principal laws, he said, adding that the first vote was held in November 1963.

Echoing Shareef’s views, Dr Ibrahim Al-Humoud, a professor of general law at Kuwait University, said Kuwait’s pioneering accomplishments in democratization and all-out development have earned it a distinguished status and effective presence in Arab, regional and international arenas. The Kuwaiti political system has been wielding plenty of resilience and competence to absorb political differences since the country was created, based on discussions, settlement or judiciary, he said.

Kuwaiti people began to be familiar with democracy at diwaniyas (gatherings) where the ruler and the ruled used to come together to look into political and societal affairs, the Kuwaiti professor added.

Dr Ayed Al-Manaa, a professor of political science and a scholar, said that Kuwait’s democratic experiment dates back to 1921 when the country’s first legislature was established following the approval of the late ruler Sheikh Ahmad bin Jaber Al-Sabah.

Democratic systems differ from one country to another, depending on several factors that are mainly connected with a society’s culture and political, economic and security circumstances, he believed. Kuwait, for instance, has a unique political model centered on relative political participation and the National Assembly is the country’s legislative authority, Manaa pointed out. Kuwait’s democratic situation and people’s desire to maintain parliamentary life are two vital factors that have stood the most difficult internal and external circumstances, according to the political scholar.

Hussein Abdulrahman, a journalist and political activist, said the State of Kuwait has its unique political experiment involving the freedom of opinion and expression, and political participation. People’s participation in the election of parliamentarians in full freedom, transparency, fairness and professionalism has unquestionably ensured the success of the country’s electoral process, he added. —KUNA

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