Monday, May 19, 2008

Kuwait's Elections

Kuwait's new parliament will not be friendly toward economic reforms:
"In Saturday's vote, tribal MPs took 23 seats in the assembly, hard-line Islamists won 11 seats, liberals took 11 seats, and Shiite candidates won five seats...

"Islamist and tribal MPs have traditionally rejected government proposals for economic reform, preferring instead to perpetuate a cradle-to-grave welfare system. For example, in the last parliament, tribal and Islamist MPs supported a proposal to forgive Kuwaiti citizens personal debt estimated at more than 4.6 billion dinars (about $17 billion). The government balked at the plan but later agreed to set up a fund to help debt-ridden Kuwaitis, many of whom face jail terms when they default on loans...

"The oil-rich country's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah dissolved parliament in March, the second time in two years, after a series of political crises in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) fourth-largest oil producer. Since the June 2006 elections, four cabinets have resigned, several ministers have been reshuffled or have resigned in order to avoid questioning by parliament or face a vote of no confidence."

(I reordered these paragraphs to make for smoother reading.)



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