Kuwait emir trashes talk of Qatari interference

Ministry dismisses claims that Jordanian troops were involved in halting protests

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Jaber Al Ahmad on Wednesday dismissed claims that Qatar had a role in the demonstrations and in the escalation of the situation in his country.

The allegations were made after Qatari journalists published views and posted remarks on social networks that were considered “interference in the domestic affairs of Kuwait.”

However, the Emir told the editors in chief of Kuwaiti dailies that Qatar was a sisterly state and that it had no role in the events that hit Kuwait, local news sites reported.

Shaikh Sabah, who has been receiving various segments of the Kuwaiti society to explain the latest developments in the country, said that he would not cancel the amendment of the electoral law that slashed the number of candidates a voter can elect from four to one.

The opposition has launched a massive campaign that includes street demonstrations to push for the cancellation of the amendment, which it describes as reducing its influence and serving only to usher in rubber-stamp parliaments.

Prominent members said that they would boycott the elections and called upon Kuwaitis not to run as candidates or vote on December 1.

A parliament elected under heavy boycott would be weak and would be dismissed easily.

However, the Emir told the editors in chief that the next parliament would run through its constitutional term.

Election officials said that 115 people have so far signed up their names to run for the 50-seat parliament.

Shaikh Sabah said that he expected the number of candidates to increase before the registration process comes to an end.

Allegations that Jordanian troops were involved in halting the demonstration last week were dismissed as baseless and lacking credibility by the interior ministry.

Opposition figures said that around 3,500 Jordanian troops were called in by Kuwait to help contain the demonstrations and on Tuesday a picture of a Kuwaiti officer sitting together with a Jordanian security official did the rounds on the internet.

“The picture is two years old and was taken at a training session in Jordan,” the interior ministry said.