Kuwaitis urged to face challenges

February 16, 2012
By

Kuwait’s new parliament elected a veteran politician and three-time speaker Ahmad Al Sa’adoun as speaker of the house yesterday.

He received 38 votes against 26 to his only competitor, liberal MP Mohammad Al Sager. The chamber broke out in wild applause after MP Khalid Al Sultan, who chaired the session, announced the result.

Earlier, Kuwait’s Emir welcomed the country’s lawmakers to the 14th legislative term, expressing hope they will serve the nation and its people to the best of their capabilities.

“I would like to congratulate everybody on the voting process, which was carried out in an environment of freedom and democracy — something which was admired and commended by the people as well as Arab and international observers,” Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said as he opened the session.

“We are at the crossroads of a new stage of democratic parliamentary practice. It is not right and it is not acceptable that while we celebrate 50 years of our parliament, we talk about a parliamentary ‘experiment’,” he said, quoted by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna), and added Kuwait should instead highlight its progress that has resisted formidable challenges and onslaughts.

“It is our duty to work to boost our progress towards grand objectives based on lessons drawn from past mistakes,” he said.

The Emir said the unprecedented clashes in the run-up to the elections were not related to freedom or democracy, but rather a flagrant violation of the law and social values and a terrible omen for the nation.

Nation of law

“We reject any attempt to slander people or to hurt their dignity. Such acts are not a form of bravery or freedom. We totally reject any breach of the law or any attempt for people to take the law into their hands… Kuwait remains a nation of institutions and law,” he told the 50 lawmakers who were elected on February 2.

“Kuwait will always remain a state of law and institutions and its fair justice system is the only resort for whoever has rights.”

The Emir said the nation faced local challenges and external threats that required all Kuwaitis to unite and work together.

“Confronting the challenges should top your priorities and be the focus of most of your interests.

“Consolidating national unity, resisting sedition and divisions, using the media in a noble way without sensationalism or fuelling divisions, and ensuring that basic and public rights are respected should be your main mission,” he added .

Transparency

Fighting corruption and financial irregularities and promoting transparency and honesty should also be among the objectives of the parliament, he said.

Referring to education and the youth, the Emir called on the parliament to ensure the improvement of curricula and learning standards to the level of the advanced countries and expand initiatives for Kuwait’s youth.

Veteran of many battles

At 78, veteran opposition figure Ahmad Al Sa’adoun is Kuwait’s longest-serving lawmaker. He has been a member of parliament since 1975, winning in every parliamentary poll since then.

He became speaker for the first time in the 1985 parliament which was dissolved a year later. He was also elected to the post in 1992 and 1996.

In the subsequent parliament elected in 1999, wealthy businessman Jasem Al Khorafi defeated Al Sa’adun and kept the post of speaker until last year when he decided not to run in the general elections.

In the February 2 snap polls, the Islamist-led opposition scored a landslide victory, winning around 34 seats in the 50-member parliament.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/kuwait/kuwaitis-urged-to-face-challenges-1.981519

         

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About the author

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

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