Kuwait court to rule on electoral law amendment on June 16

April 6, 2013

Kuwait’s political future could be decided on June 16 when the Constitutional Court issues a much-anticipated ruling on the legality of the controversial amendment of the electoral law by the emir.

The court will also pronounce on the same day its verdict on the challenges to the results of the parliamentary elections held on December 1.

The date was decided by the court on Monday when it reviewed the last pleas by lawyers in the cases that have captivated the nation’s attention for months.

Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, amended the controversial 2006 electoral law last October slashing the number of candidates a voter could elect from four to one. The move impeded attempts by parliamentary candidates to enter coalitions, leading the opposition to accuse the government of trying to influence elections to produce a friendly parliament.

A court decision deeming the Emiri decree that amended the law to be unconstitutional would dissolve the current parliament elected in December and lead to the resignation of the government that was subsequently formed.

However, should the court judge that the decree was in line with the constitution, the opposition would receive a blow that could seriously erode its influence.

“Whatever the decision is, we have to respect it whether we agree or disagree with it,” former MP Mohammad Barak Al Mutair said. “A ruling by the Constitutional Court ensures the nation’s higher interests and stability. While everybody has the right to express his or her view on it, there should be no accusations against anyone. It is time for Kuwaitis to be closely united to confront internal and external challenges and to boost the nation-building process,” he said in remarks published by local Arabic daily Al Qabas on Tuesday.

A decision to boycott the elections in December failed to undermine popular support for casting ballots and street pressure tactics resulted in confrontations with the riot police and in court cases.

However, the opposition has vowed to continue its pressure to have the electoral law amendment repealed and the four-vote system reinstated.

New demands that pushed for an elected government and the amendment of the constitution have however waded into controversy and threatened to erode the unity of the opposition.

Islamists and candidates representing tribal groups dominated the elections in February 2012 and formed a strong opposition to the government.

However, their parliament lasted only four months and was dissolved by the Constitutional Court after the latter judged a decree that dissolved the 2009 parliament and one calling for fresh elections to be unconstitutional.




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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