Saturday, February 04, 2012

Islamist Opposition Wins in Kuwait

As expected, the culturally conservative opposition will lead Kuwait's new parliament:
"Thursday's election gave 14 seats to Islamists and 20 seats to tribal-based legislators - giving conservative-leaning blocs a clear majority. At least nine seats went to liberals and seven to Shiite legislators, who had generally sided with the Sunni-led ruling family.

"The election result leaves only a minority of the seats in Kuwait's parliament firmly in the hands of pro-government members...

"The opposition had been expected to expand its influence after its success in ousting the unpopular former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah, whom it accused of corruption. That anger came to a head in November when protesters led by opposition MPs stormed the assembly demanding that Sheikh Nasser resign. Soon after, the emir dismissed his cabinet - the seventh line-up in six years.

"An investigation by the public prosecutor into large deposits in the bank accounts of 13 pro-government parliamentarians gave a further boost to the opposition. Regime critics said the sums were bribes paid by ministers to MPs for their backing in the assembly."

I expected Kuwait will now be frequently listed with Egypt and Tunisia as countries where Islamist have recently won parliamentary power, but it's completely unrelated. Kuwaiti parliaments come and go, and Islamists have dominated them before. The biggest common factor is an opposition to corruption in Kuwait similar to the desire of "Arab Spring" voters and even the Palestinians who gave Hamas a parliamentary majority several years ago to find representatives perceived as more honest than those from established governments, their remnants, and their official tame oppositions.



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