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Kuwait: Elections Getting Closer

Kuwait is gearing up for another round of Parliamentary elections on Saturday (May 17), allowing women to cast votes and nominate themselves for the second time in the country's history.

Fifty seats are being contested in the elections, for the National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma). Kuwait's 1962 constitution calls for elections to the unicameral National Assembly every four years. Elections are held earlier if the Emir (Ruler) exercises his constitutional power to dissolve parliament. On May 21, 2006, the Emir dissolved the National Assembly through constitutional means and Kuwait held national elections on June 29, 2006. The voters selected the 50 members of the country's National Assembly and for the first time ever, women in this Arab country were able to vote. On March 19, the Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah dissolved parliament again after constant clashes between the government and the elected MPs, and called for new elections on May 17.

Amer over at Hilaliya is blogging his ‘election tour,’ where he is going from one campaign headquarters to the other. In his latest post, he visits one of the candidates and writes:

A few nights ago I attended the campaign inauguration of a friend and former colleague of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2nd District candidate Abdullah Al-Yahya, whom I've always known to be a candid and fervent defender of the Kuwaiti democratic institution.

Amer also encourages fellow bloggers to write about the elections and says:

Now many Arabic-language blogs and some English-language blogs are already excelling at the election coverage with its smorgasbord of polemic side dishes, but many of you out there still have not taken a dip into the election lake. I urge the Kuwaiti Blogosphere – at least the ones who haven't touched on the upcoming elections to at least post one story about the upcoming elections, it could be a candidate profile, a television spot, an a campaign rally still, a humorous spoof…you decide.

Do your thing. The results might surprise you.

Meanwhile, Ducati [Ar] writes about how everything in his life now rotates around the elections, saying:

هاليومين صاير الجو انتخابي بحت
يعني احس قمنا نشرب انتخابات
ناكل انتخابات
نتنفس انتخابات
نقرا انتخابات
انام بالإنتخابات
اصحى على الإنتخابات
اقعد مع ابوي نسولف بالإنتخابات
اقعد مع امي مع يدتي نسولف بالإنتخابات
مع الدكتور مع رفيجي مع الي ينظف الشارع أيضا بالإنتخابات
حتى الإعلانات التجارية صارت ذات صبغه انتخابية

Those couple of days have been about the elections only. I feel that we are drinking elections, eating elections, breathing elections, reading about the elections, sleeping elections, waking up on the elections. I sit with my father for a chat and we talk about the elections. I sit with my mother and grandmother and we talk about the elections. I talk about the elections with my doctor too, with my friends and with the man who cleans the street. Even commercial advertisements are tainted with elections.

Last but not least, we stop with Aseel [Ar] over at the 5-Q8 blog, who sends a strong message to the women of Kuwait, urging them to use their votes wisely. She notes:

تنوعت المذاهب الفكرية، وتلونت الضمائر والعقول، وتعددت المصالح وتباين الوعي السياسي والوطني، ليضيع الوطن الكويت بين حانا ومانا!!.. لن نناشد بالمدينة الفاضلة، فأفلاطون لم يكن يوما هنا، ولكن نناشد بقليل من العقلانية والتفكير بصالح هذه الأرض المتعبة والمنهكة بأحمال شعب وحكومة
There are diverse intellectual doctrines and different consciences and minds, as well as various levels of political and national awareness, which make Kuwait lost. We are not calling for a Utopia as Plato has never been here, but we are appealing for a little rationality and concern for the well-being of this land, which is tired and worn out from the burden of the actions of its people and Government.
هؤلاء من يصنعن من السلبية ثوبا يلبسنه في هذه الفترة العصيبة لا يعلمن بأن مواقفهن تبني وتهد الكثير، قد تغير مستقبل أبنائهن وطباخ ديرتهن، وقد تُلبس الكويت أسوأ أو أفضل صيحات الموضة على جميع أصعدتها، وهؤلاء من يحلمن بغايات شخصية، بزيادة راتب أو إسقاط قرض وغيره من أحلام شبيهة، ألا يعلمن بأن مصلحة الوطن أهم وأكبر؟ وأن من يعمل لصالح الوطن بالأحرى هو يعمل لصالح المواطن وإن كان على المدى البعيد؟ فليلبسن عيني زرقاء اليمامة قليلا ليوقنّ بأن هذه المصالح الشخصية والوقتية هي ذرى وطن مكلوم، وأن هناك ما هو أجدى لدولة ووطن وشعب
Those who weave from negativity a garment to wear at this difficult time, do not know that their stances make and break a lot. It might even change the course of the future of their children. Kuwaitis may wear the worst or the best of the latest fashions, across all levels, and those who dream of personal gains, like a salary increment, the dropping of loans or similar dreams, should realise that the interest of their nation is bigger and more important. Those who work for the benefit of the nation in reality work for the benefit of citizens, even if this benefit may only be evident on the long run. Let them look longer in the distance to learn that such personal interests are the grains for a distressed country, and that there are things which are better for the state, the nation and its people.
وهؤلاء الأخوات ممن يناشدن للانتخاب كالقطيع وراء عائلة أو قبيلة، يسقط الوطن من عقولهن وقلوبهن لتسكن جاهلية الفكر مكانهما، ومن ثم يترحمن على غياب الكويت من ركب التقدم والحضارة!.. يسقط من ذاكرتهن بأن تقدم الدول لا يكون بالعودة لعصر الجاهلية الأولى والتمسك بأسمال العائلة والقبيلة، يتناسين بأن الكويت أثمن وأفخر من أي تبعية، ومصلحتها هي مصلحتهن لا شيء آخر سواء على المدى العاجل أو الآجل، فهل نسين أيام سود جثم فيها الغزو البائد على أرض هذا الوطن الصغير بمساحته الكبير بهمومه؟ نسين بأن أشمل ما يجمعنا هو وطن لا عائلة وقبيلة؟ حزين هو مشهد هذا القطيع من النساء وهن منقادات تابعات معصوبات الأعين والضمائر وراء جاهلية العقل والقلب
There are women who are flocking to the elections like a herd, rallying for candidates based on their family and tribal allegiances. They ignore the nation in their minds and hearts and replace them with the thoughts of Al Jahiliya (the Age of Ignorance, before the emergence of Islam) and they then complain about the absence of Kuwait from development and civilization! They seem to forget that the development of nations doesn't happen by going back to the early Al Jahiliya Age and holding tight to family and tribal allegiances. They seem to forget that Kuwait is more precious than any allegiance and that its interest is above all else. Have they forgotten the dark days of the occupation, on the small land of this country, which is cumbered with worry? Have they forgotten that what ties us to each other is this nation and not families and tribes? It is sad seeing these blindfolded women, with ignorant minds and hearts, being herded.
وأما من يتحيزن لمذهب أي كان، لن نناشد بالانسلاخ من جلد المذهبية، لن ندعو إلى أحلام ذهبية ليس هذا آوانها، ولكن قليلا من التفكير بهذه الأرض التي حملت بكن وأنجبتكن بنات لها، آزرن الأصلح للكويت ولمستقبل أبنائكن
For those biased for their own (religious) sects, I will not appeal to you to let do of your sectarianism, for this golden dream is premature. I only ask you to give a little thought to this land, which carried you and gave birth to you as its daughters: support those who are best for Kuwait and the future of your children.
وهؤلاء الحالمات بالدينار الحرام، أملا في تحسين هزيل لوضع مادي أو لرفاهية مؤقتة، لن نناشد بوطن ومستقبل دولة، بل بدين وعزة نفس وكرامة اجتماعية يسقطون كالشهب من سماء ذواتكن، فتُمعنّ في السقوط أكثر، وفي عصْر الكويت ليمونة ليشرب الجميع مذاقها الحامض
And those longing for money obtained by unlawful methods, looking for a means to improve their lot or short-lived luxury, I will not appeal to you in the name of the nation and the future of this country, but in the name of religion, your dignity and social morality. You can continue to fall some more, in an age where Kuwait has become a lemon, and everyone can taste its sourness.
انسوا الشعارات الرنانة واتركوا عنكم مثيري المشاعر ومدغدغي الوطنية والاصلاح والشفافية وانظروا لمن يعمل.. انتخبوا الأصلح فمجلس 2006 انتم الذين واللاتي صنعتمتوه وأنتم من اكلتم نتاج حصاده.. كلنا امل بان لا يعيد التاريخ نفسه بأيديكم
Forget resonant slogans and those who tickle your feelings with words about nationalism, reform and transparency. Look at those who work .. and elect the best. The 2006 Parliament was what you created and you were the ones who reaped the harvest. We hope that you will not contribute to history repeating itself again.

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