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23-01-2012 - Kuwait Times

I dream of party politics

While writing this article, my mind is not yet set as to whether I should take part in the upcoming election and vote, or mark my abstention from a process that does not suit my vision of democracy. In the past, I have lauded our democratic experience - and it is to be noted that when compared to neighboring countries, Kuwait is the envy of many. And yet, when placing Kuwait's democracy in a global perspective, many shortcomings appear , including the lack of formal political parties.

Those that can point out the dangers of such an idea and mention examples of countries that have developed party politics only to see their country degrade - I am thinking here of Egypt's NDP or Iraq and Syria Baath. Positive examples to counter such claim exist in Europe, Asia and Latin America to name a few regions. Democracy in such countries is firmly established, and it would not be too great of a digression to concur that Kuwait though its many issues with democracy in the past, has established democratic credentials.

The aim of party politics would not be to strengthen social divisions, rather it would come as a blender, bringing people together based on ideological backgrounds - and most important, on political platform agendas. Such a step should come within the framework of a strong Parliament that is capable of passing new laws paving the way for the next elections to forward this agenda. It most certainly needs some constitutional amendments that would allow for a clearly defined Prime Minister post held by the leader of the party to emerge with the greatest number of votes. A unified government will not secure the required majority.

With the streamlining of such laws, a most crucial law needs to be passed - I hope in the upcoming Parliament - the breaking down of a centralized Municipality that would pave the way for the creation of a strong mayorship, tasked with all matters relevant to urbanization, construction and social cohesion. Mayors ought to be elected directly by suffrage, and local area election would come to form the Municipal Council that should be held for a period similar to that of Parliament (four years), but should be independent of the Parliament.

Last but certainly not least, a new national advisory council should be established based on merit criteria that serves as an authority to ensure the laws passed in Parliament and executive decisions decreed by the executive authority are in the best interest of the state. Such an advisory council should comprise of all the living ex-presidents of Parliament, ex-presidents of the Municipal assembly, ex-members of the Cabinet based on criteria to be decided at a later date.

The state of affairs today requires patriots both willing and able to push towards meaningful reform that would guard against sedition from within foreign aggression. We need to ferment and cement our society and help channel its energy towards the productive building of a vibrant nation fueled by a noble vision. Today, we need actions that will ensure the stability and prosperity of our country for the foreseeable future in light of the ever-changing regional realities.

May God Almighty protect and bless us all.

fouad@kuwaittimes.net Twitter: @Fouadalobaid

 

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