FREE SPEECH ZONE | Kuwait dissolves Parliament

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For the second time this year, and third since March 2006, Kuwait’s Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmed Al Sabah, announced the dissolution of parliament. This decision came after several cabinet ministers turned in their resignations, claiming a lack of cooperation from members of parliament. Members of parliament had accused the Prime Minister of misconduct and misuse of public funds. The Amir condemned members of parliament for abusing constitutional strength to question the Prime Minister.

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Although the Amir had the option of accepting the government’s resignation and naming a new prime minister, his decision was to issue a decree dissolving the existing parliament and call for an early election. Speaking to the public during a Kuwait Television broadcast the Amir stated “For the sake of protecting the country and the people from irresponsible behavior that has exceeded the limit… and in order to safeguard national unity, I have decided to dissolve parliament and call on the Kuwaiti people to elect a new parliament.”

Kuwaiti nationals commenting on this situation do not all agree with the Amir’s decision. Many feel that neither dissolution of parliament or replacing the government by appointment would resolve this reoccurring political turmoil. Unlike western-style democracy, the political parties are banned in Kuwait, all elections are individually supported, and the Prime Minister is chosen from the royal ruling family (Al-Sabah). Khaled Al Ali was reported in the Al-Wasat newspaper stating “We badly need to establish a party system under which the government is formed from parliament on the basis of a clear program.”

Kuwait has survived several political crises over the past two years, most of which were triggered by power struggles. These crises include the resignation of four governments and the dissolutions of parliament and general election in 2006. Only time will tell how the elections, scheduled for May 17, 2009, will affect the greater population and parliamentary proceedings of the country. .

_A native of Minnesota, Kellie Hills is married to a Kuwaiti national and lives in Salwa, Kuwait_