A lifer expat mummy in Kuwait blogging on things to do in Kuwait for kids and adults, places to visit, fun and cultural events, general info, shopping bargains and interesting stuff. Email: LWDLIK@gmail.com
Amir Stands by Decree, Slams ‘illegal’ Protests – Candidates Reach 94 – Opposition Plans New Demo
KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah meets citizens during a reception at Bayan Palace yesterday. – KUNA
KUWAIT TIMES: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday insisted that he will not withdraw a decree that amended the electoral constituency law leading to opposition protests, saying that introducing the amendment was within his powers in the constitution. In a speech carried by Kuwait Television and all private satellite channels in the country, the Amir said he and citizens have become very concerned over violence and chaos and insisted that threats and challenges will not achieve the desired objects, adding that dialogue is the best way to resolve the crisis.
Riot police on Sunday used tear gas and stun grenades against thousands of demonstrators who were protesting against the amendment of the electoral law as the opposition claims that changing the law would result in electing a toothless National Assembly in the Dec 1 election. The Amir said that he and Kuwaitis have been stunned by feelings of pain, sorrow and concern because of the “regrettable developments”, and the “practices of violence and chaos” during the protests. These developments have caused the Kuwaiti people to be afraid and anxious about their country, he said.
The Amir described the opposition demonstrations as illegal and said if they had properly implemented the law, they would have been given permits to stage “civilized” protests like in all democratic countries. The Amir specifically blasted the attacks on policemen, especially a hit-and-run incident during a protest last Wednesday, and questioned the real motives behind the protesters. The Amir said that no one has the right to violate the law and warned that he will not tolerate against any measure that may undermine the security of the country. He said leaders of Gulf states had called and offered to provide all the support to preserve Kuwait’s security and stability.
In another development, former Islamist opposition MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said that the opposition plans to organize the biggest rally so far but he did not provide any details nor the date of the new protest. Medical sources meanwhile said that 26 men, including 8 policemen, were slightly wounded during Sunday’s protest but most of them were treated on the spot due to inhaling teargas. Lawyers said that up to 70 protesters were arrested but most of them were released late Sunday night without bail. In the meantime, 24 new candidates registered for the election yesterday, raising the number of candidates after six days to 94 compared to 255 candidates in the previous election, 225 in the 2009 polls and as many as 277 in the 2008 election.
The Amir made the comments at a reception ceremony attended by a large gathering of Kuwaitis at Bayan Palace. “God has bestowed upon us many blessings we should be thankful for. We live in a safe and gracious environment, where people live in security, stability and luxury, grouped together by the spirit of a united family and a common destiny,” he said. Sheikh Sabah expressed his disenchantment over the motives of the protestors, which he said were unknown, blaming them for leading a campaign aimed at “extremism, causing internal rifts and breaking the law and constitutional and religious principles”.
“We live in a true democratic climate, that offers the right of expression to all – to say what they want to whoever they want. Newspaper pages and television stations are filled every day with various viewpoints and directions. Where is the authoritarianism? Where is the oppression? Security men are attacked while they are on duty and carrying out their national responsibility. I explained in my last speech a few days ago the justifications for taking the decision to amend the voting mechanism of the electoral process, which stipulated limiting one vote per voter instead of four.
This decision aimed at preserving national unity and buttressing democratic practices, as well as achieving the principle of equal opportunities and overall society representation,” he said, adding that he took the decision out of “my national, constitutional and historic responsibility before Allah and the Kuwaiti people and in clear activation of the Amir’s authorities which are defined by the constitution and substantiated by the Constitutional Court”. “I have left for the next National Assembly to review the amendment and tackle all its downsides in order to achieve higher national unity,” the Amir pointed out.
On the relation between the ruler and people, Sheikh Sabah termed such relationship as “deeper and bigger to be affected by twisted machination. This relationship had been established long centuries ago; deep-rooted by national customs and sustained by constitutional practice.” Addressing the female audience, he said, “I reiterate my pride of the Kuwaiti woman and her honorable role throughout the nation’s history and her prominent sacrifices during the Iraqi invasion.”
LWDLIK - God bless the Amir and Kuwait.
The country can not be hijacked by a minority of anachists who believe they are above the law. Those same people led by former Islamist MPs crying for human rights and democracy are the same who voted against the women's right to vote, tried to implement segregation in all schools, proposed to force women to wear hijab, proposed and passed a 'death for blasphemy' law that had to be vetoed by the Amir, they want to remove music, drama, sports and art in schools. So what and whose human rights are we talking about exactly?
To those who are participating in the illegal gatherings and believe this is only a demo against one man, one vote - you are being herded by those who have a more sinister agenda.