By Ghadeer Ghloum
KUWAIT: As Kuwaitis voted in the National Assembly election on Tuesday, members of a foreign media delegation that arrived in Kuwait to witness the electoral process shared their opinions with Kuwait Times. Omani political writer and analyst Dr Ahmed bin Salem Batmira said this political event comes under the slogan “correcting the path is everyone’s responsibility”, indicating that Kuwait needs parliamentary reforms to help the country move forward.
Batmira hoped that what happened in the previous parliamentary elections held in September would not be repeated, pointing out that Kuwait needs a patriotic stand from its people. “We notice today an increase in the presence of strong voters, and a small number of candidates compared to previous periods, but nevertheless, candidates represent an elite group from all aspects of Kuwaiti society.
This is a race that is expected to witness a change of faces to translate the hopes of Kuwaitis in seeing a strong, productive and practical parliament in 2023 that works with the government that will be formed later as one team, and turning ideas and proposals into tangible reality,” he said. Saudi Editor-in-Chief of Al-Khaleej newspaper Abdullah Khoja Bakkah said the delegation began their tour by visiting the first constituency and the third constituency, where they shared beautiful moments with the voters. He explained the voter has responsibility for their country when voting in the elections.
Bakkah witnessed the smoothness of the system and quick response to voters by the committees as soon as they arrived to input their information and confirm their citizenship. “The process was smooth and comfortable, giving us a very good experience in terms of feeling the electoral atmosphere,” Bakkah said. He expressed his love for Kuwait and wished it best of luck in the parliamentary elections this year. He mentioned this is not the first election he has covered, adding every time he attends Kuwaiti elections, he finds progress.
He also pointed out that the Kuwaiti media provides help and cooperation to all the journalists and media people present to cover the event. Moreover, Bakkah said that when he sat with some Kuwaiti voters and talked to them, they told him that the vision has now become clearer and better than before. This has led to an increase in the interest of Kuwaiti citizens because they want the best for their country, which will result in boosting citizens’ benefits as well. Dr Clemens Chay from the Middle East Institute and National University of Singapore, who covers Kuwait and Gulf politics, said regarding the elections, the primary motivation is to have a parliament that is able to have a powerful relationship with the executive branch, which is the Cabinet.
He explained the ongoing crisis in Kuwait is due to the inability to resolve the tension between the two branches. Chay sees a sense of fatigue in terms of the number of elections, as Tuesday marked the third in around two and a half years. He expressed his hope that turnout is relatively high compared to previous elections, because the fact that Kuwait has democratic structures is a testament to political and personal freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. This is important for both the country and the citizens, Chay said.
B Josie Susilo H, Deputy Editor of Indonesia’s Kompas Gramedia, commended this democratic step. “I think it is very good to build democracy in Kuwait through this mission, which makes it a good step to move forward,” he said. He also highlighted the necessity for Kuwaitis to take action towards their civil responsibility. “I think it is important for Kuwaitis to use their right to vote, because through this step they can (be involved) in building their nation and the future of Kuwait. It is a civil responsibility for each Kuwaiti citizen.”