Kuwait braces for turbulent times

February 5, 2012

The newly-elected Kuwaiti parliament will not complete its full term, analysts have predicted after Islamists made unprecedented gains. Islamists, including Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists and independent candidates won 22 out of the 50 seats in parliament in what one analyst described as a “soft Arab Spring”.

“Tribalism and Islamism have proven that they are undisputedly the most significant factors in the elections, way ahead of any other consideration,” Mohammad Al Suhaili, a Kuwaiti political analyst said.

“There will be numerous clashes between the lawmakers whose backgrounds and orientations sharply contrast as well as standoffs with the government. I do not think that this parliament will go to the full extent of its term. It is way too explosive to remain,” he added.

Abdullah Al Shayji, chairman of the Political Science Department at Kuwait University and specialist in Gulf and US politics, referred to election day as “a roller coaster with many surprises.” “There are no women in the new formation and the liberals have been dramatically decimated while former pro-government lawmakers and former MPs suspected of receiving huge amounts of money in their bank accounts and investigated by the public prosecutor either did not run or simply lost,” he said.

Kuwait has become the fourth Arab country in as many months to see overwhelming gains for Islamists and losses for liberals in parliamentary elections.

PM reminds winners of responsibilities

In a message of congratulations to the winners, Prime Minister Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah yesterday said that the lawmakers should be prepared to shoulder “heavy responsibilities” and to deal with difficult times ahead.

The premier expressed hope that the new members of parliament will fulfil the “aspirations of the people on security, stability, development, prosperity, combating negative acts and bolstering patriotism,” Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.




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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