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Kuwait Emir stresses national unity

‘We will not tolerate wrong political practices that stall the nation’s development process’

Gulf News

Manama: The Emir of Kuwait said that “wrong political practices” have contributed to obstructing the development process and hindered reforms.

“The wrong political practices adopted by some people have contributed to impeding the process of development in the country, hindered the implementation of much-anticipated reforms, dispersed efforts and caused the loss of the focus on directing energies to nation building and development,” Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said. “All this has resulted in feelings of anxiety and frustration among our citizens. However, we will not tolerate the continuation of this approach and we will all work to spread the spirit of hope and optimism and motivate determination to move forward with the development process in order to achieve our anticipated objectives,” the Emir said in an address to the nation to mark the last 10 days of Ramadan. Kuwait has been rocked by political bickering between the government and current and former lawmakers over several issues.

The situation was compounded when the Constitutional Court ruled in June that the decrees to dissolve the parliament elected in 2009 and to hold new legislative elections in February were unconstitutional.

The ruling dissolved the newly-elected parliament and reinstated the 2009 legislative body. However, the reinstated parliament has failed twice to convene and to have the newly-formed cabinet sworn in, prompting the speaker to present a formal letter to the Emir about the situation.

A decision by Shaikh Sabah is expected after the end of Ramadan amid speculations that new elections could be held, possibly under a new electoral system.

A move last week by the government to consult the Constitutional Court about the merit of the 2006 electoral law that introduced the five constituency system has sparked a new controversy.

The opposition has claimed that the move was a plot to weaken it and pledged to take to the streets while supporters said that it would ensure the constitutionality of the law and would protect the country from damaging misinterpretations and abuses.

In his address, Shaikh Sabah warned that people should appreciate the gravity of the challenges that the nation has to face.

“Everyone should be aware of the changes and risks around us and should appreciate the current circumstances and situations that require us to be cautious and to confront them in order to protect our beloved country,” he said.

“This will not be possible without our cohesion and our ability to stand in the face of anyone who tries to cause prejudice or to threaten our national unity and social fabric.”

The traditional and modern media, in their coverage of local, regional and international developments, should assume a great role in consolidating national unity, reinforcing patriotism and preserving Kuwait’s higher interests, the Emir said.

“Freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed, but this does not mean that it can be abused to spread incitement or undermine our national unity or tear at our social fabric that has been woven by our fathers and forefathers,” he said.