Gulf | Kuwait

Kuwait trade union calls for national dialogue

‘Kuwaitis need to address differences before it is too late’

  • By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
  • Published: 16:32 February 6, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • Opposition supporters hold up a picture of former MP Falah Al Sawwagh as they take part in a protest in Al Ogailah district on Tuesday after a Kuwaiti court sentenced three former opposition MPs to three years in jail for insulting the emir.

Manama: Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) has called for prompt action to address the widening rift between various segments of the society.

“Kuwait is now going through a deep political crisis that has divided the street into two sides,” KTUF said in a statement on Wednesday. “This crisis is threatening our society with dire consequences if it continues and the divisions keep on widening. KTUF appreciates the positions of all parties and respects the viewpoints of all groups. However, it sees it necessary to heal this dangerous rift promptly before it worsens and erodes our progress, development and successes achieved throughout our history,” the federation said in the statement signed by its chairman, Fayez Al Mutairi.

A wide national dialogue with the participation of all political formations, NGOs and all components of Kuwaiti society should be held to reach a solution, the federation said.

“The premises for the national talks should be allegiance to the nation and placing the country’s higher political, economic, security and social interests above all other considerations,” KTUF said.

“All positions should be based on these premises and should reinforce the state and its institutions, including holding on to the constitution, democratic practices, freedom of speech and expression without injuring others and a respect for all political and public freedoms.”

The federation said that Kuwaitis needed to reinforce their domestic front “in light of the tense political and security conditions in the neighbourhood.”

“Therefore, we call upon all to renounce violence and the abuse of power and to respect all opinions. We also warn of the consequences of slipping into actions that may not benefit the nation or result in a deviation from our patriotic line in a way that serves only the enemies of our people,” the statement said.

Kuwait has been rocked by weeks of unrest amid deep political divisions over the merit of the parliamentary elections held in December following the dissolution in June of the legislative house elected in February.

The latest stand-off was triggered by the decision of a court on Tuesday to sentence three former lawmakers to three years in prison each for undermining the status of the Emir Shaikh Jaber Al Sabah in speeches they delivered in October at the heyday of the protests against a decision to amend the 2006 electoral law that slashed the number of candidates a voter could elect from four to one.

Bloggers who also reportedly undermined the status of the Emir have also been given jail terms.

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