What is at Stake in Kuwait’s Parliamentary Elections?
|Wednesday, May 14,2008 04:12|
|By Nathan Brown|
Despite recent electoral reform, Kuwait’s parliamentary election on May 17 will produce little change and continue to foster a parliament more adept at blocking the ruling family than initiating positive change, argues Middle East expert Nathan Brown. Increasing frustration with parliament led Kuwait’s ruling family to call an early election and has fueled speculation that they may suspend parliament.
Brown provides a question and answer guide to explain the significance of the election, and the implications of the electoral reform on campaigning, opportunities for women in Kuwaiti politics, and most significantly, for democracy in the Gulf—an important development the United States is overlooking.
Brown argues that Kuwait’s looming political crisis may have some serious implications for democracy in the Gulf:
“The ruling family tends to blame the parliament for Kuwait’s failure to develop as rapidly as Dubai—a model which allows the government to make decisions unhindered by democratic institutions. Other countries in the region are coming to see Kuwait as a negative model of what democracy can result in. Kuwaitis are increasingly debating how to reform (or whether to scale back) their democratic experiment.”