Sunday, February 08, 2009

Kuwaiti Politics and Economics

Abdullah Shayji takes a look at why Kuwait's democratic tradition is being devalued:
"As Kuwait heads once more for parliamentary elections in 2009—having held such elections just last year—repeated clashes between the executive and legislative branches are creating doubts about the Kuwaiti model, once a source of inspiration to many in the Gulf and beyond. The Kuwaiti parliament has begun to be seen as an institution obstructing the investment that the Emir hopes can further develop his country’s economy. The fact that the National Assembly has been dissolved three times in nine years, that four governments have stepped down and five others have been formed in less than three years, and that interpellation of ministers has often ended with the government resigning or the National Assembly being dissolved has stripped the Kuwaiti experiment of much of its appeal...

"For example, in order to avoid a confrontation between the government and the National Assembly, the Supreme Petroleum Council recently cancelled a multi billion-dollar deal with Dow Chemical to which the state-owned Petrochemicals Industries Co. had agreed in November 2008. The Popular Action bloc had declared it would insist on questioning the Prime Minister on the deal if it was not cancelled. Similar political pressures jeopardize other projects, including a $15 billion project to build refineries. The debate has heated up, and the government that resigned in 2008 singled out three reasons for the current state of affairs: the deteriorating level of dialogue, the arbitrary use of constitutional tools, and the inability of the government to work with the National Assembly in the current atmosphere."

This seems like a good time to think about the idea of a resource curse.



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