Kuwait’s Islamist opposition and their allies won a major victory in the recent parliamentary elections that took place on February 2.
Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah once again asked Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to form a government. The latter began consultations on this matter immediately, while the Islamists began to make some very significant demands, including constitutional reforms in line with Islamic law.
It is expected that the new government will be formed in the next few days, before the first session of the National Assembly, set for February 15. The government must participate in the opening session, as ministers are tasked with voting in the head of the assembly.
It seems that the appointed prime minister is trying, as far as possible, to form a government that would succeed in overcoming the thorny issues, particularly as he became prime minister last November after the resignation of Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah. Al-Sabah headed seven consecutive governments and was accused of being involved in corruption on a wide scale.
Experience shows that the success of a Kuwaiti government depends on the degree of cooperation with the National Assembly and not just on the ministers selected.
The Islamist MPs are hoping to make use of their momentum in the elections to achieve their demands. Perhaps the first of these is to amend some clauses in the constitution in line with Islamic law.
It appears that the regime doesn’t have any easy choices before it in the election of a speaker for the National Assembly. They want to amend the second clause, for example, by adding “the” to the words “principal source” to become “Islamic law is the principal source for legislation,” instead of “Islamic law is a principal source for legislation.”
Moreover, there is an atmosphere of increased pressure on freedoms, and it has started to show.
The Islamist MP, Waleed al-Tabtabai warned against leniency with shopkeepers over selling gifts for Valentine’s Day, demanding that the ministry of interior carry out the necessary measures to stand up to these shops to prevent them from exhibiting or selling any products to do with Valentine’s Day.
Meanwhile, sources in the Virgin Megastore have revealed that the company is going to close its only branch in Kuwait at the end of this month because the “work environment has become very difficult under the pressure we are experiencing from the ministry of information.”
Company sources said that “60 percent of the products in our other branches are prohibited in Kuwait, including books, films, and music.”