10/02/2020, 09.30
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Kuwaiti opposition looks to new emir for political 'thaw'

During a meeting before the succession, liberals and Islamic movements asked Sheikh Nawaf for electoral reforms and pardon for exiled dissidents. The goal of a relaxation in relations and the resumption of dialogue. Anti-corruption campaign and greater independence of the judiciary set as priorities.

Kuwait City (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Electoral reforms and a pardon for exiled dissidents: these are the requests made during a meeting recently held between some leaders of Kuwait's opposition to the new Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah. The meeting, which aimed to improve the stormy relations with the government, was attended by figures from the liberal-reformist camp and representatives of radical Islamic parties.

The face to face encounter took place in September, when the current emir was still crown prince and before the death of his predecessor Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad on 29 September last. At the time, the condition of the elderly emir already aroused more than one concern in the context of his hospitalization in the United States, while at home the manoeuvres for his succession were already beginning.

The country’s political stability depends on the balance of forces and collaboration between government and parliament, the oldest legislature among the Gulf nations and often dominated in the past by opposition figures. It can pass or reject laws, cast no-confidence votes against prominent officials or criticize the work of ministers.

On the other hand, although the government is tolerant of criticism compared to the countries of the area, questioning the figure of the emir who has always had the last word in state affairs is a penalty punishable by arrest.

" “We look forward for a political detente with Sheikh Nawaf who has shown some positive signs, including by meeting with opposition leaders,” said Ahmad Deyain, secretary general of the opposition group Kuwaiti Progressive Movement. “A pardon for the exiles would be a good start especially with the upcoming (parliamentary) elections,” he added.

 Among those who have self-imposed exile are the legislators who took part in the assault on Parliament in 2011. The accusations of corruption and mismanagement within the government sparked the protest. Still others include Kuwaitis who have openly criticized the emir, who according to the constitution is above politics and other Gulf rulers.

Elements of the opposition report that they have presented the new emir with a proposal entitled "Document on Kuwait", which aims at a reformist executive, the launch of an anti-corruption campaign, greater independence of the judiciary and changes to the electoral law.

“Starting the discussion is already a good step; I expect that we will continue on that path, which could lead to breakthroughs in several issues including reconciliation with some political blocs,” concluded Mohammad Al-Dallal, a current MP from the opposition Islamic Constitutional Movement. 

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