Kuwait moves to extinguish fires of acrimony on election eve

February 1, 2012

Kuwait sought on Wednesday to put out the fires of acrimony fuelled by unprecedented violent incidents that marred the end of the electoral campaigns.

A large rally scheduled by a candidate, Ali Al Rashed, to bring together various forces on the eve of the elections was cancelled after the interior ministry told him it had credible information that there would be attempts to mar the event and create chaos and confusion.

“The objective of the rally was to protect our national unity and reject any attacks on a tribe or a segment of our society,” he candidate said in a statement. “However, we have decided to cancel it following reports from the interior ministry that it would be used by some elements to stir up trouble and compound the tense situation. We do require everyone to exercise the highest levels of self-control and to remain calm,” he said.

The country, the first to have a directly elected parliament in the Gulf, was rocked on Monday and Tuesday by news of arson, clashes between demonstrators and anti-riot police and the storming of a television station.

The interior ministry said that at least 20 people were arrested for their role in the storming of Al Watan TV and clashing with the police.

Reports from Kuwait City said that a daily, Al Dar, was shut down for two weeks.

Around 400,000 men and women are scheduled to cast their ballots to choose the 50 lawmakers who will represent them in the parliament.

According to the head of the transparency society, 300 Kuwaitis and 35 foreigners will monitor the elections.

“We will be thorough and we will not hide any violation by any party,” Salah Al Gazali said.

Improving services and fighting corruption dominated the debates and platforms during the campaign.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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