Number 6. What a lucky number! I am not talking about a lottery number, so do not get carried away. This is the number of times that our glorious parliament has been dissolved in the span of six years. Actually, no tears are shed. In Kuwait we are used to the argument – ‘Dissolved or not dissolved’ since 2006. We are used to hearing slogans: No confidence in parliament and in cabinet; lack of quorum during serious sessions.
There have been threats to grill everybody with or without reason. Dissolving parliament, reappointing parliament – we got used to these headlines on the front pages of newspapers on daily basis. We are parliament-fatigued. The current parliament was reinstated by the Constitutional Court in June. The parliament preceding it was elected only in February. It hardly held few sessions and was suspended. Since then there have been no serious sessions as the opposition boycotted them and never showed up. In parliament language having no quorum means no sessions.
In simple mathematics the country was put on a standstill. Imagine a rich oil country like Kuwait stays in a stagnant position for so long. Time was lost between elections, dissolving parliament, lack of quorum and no sessions. This meant there were no projects at all. It meant not even solving the existing problems which the country is facing and which have been accumulating. Starting from the lack of electricity to street maintenance and safe food.
We live in a country which has a rough annual income of $134 billion, according to parliamentarians’ statistics. The economic situation resembles the one in a country which has no oil and no income. Anyone who has money is not courageous enough to revive the market because they are waiting to see what will happen with parliament and government. The only ones who did not lose in this situation are the government employees. The private sector faced an appalling situation. Everyone has heard of companies closing down and slashing stuffs.
Now the situation will get worse. We have to wait for the new parliament, which means we will wait for nothing. We will vote the same faces, the same behavior and the same mentality. I guess it will be like last February. Elections will be over in two months and we will enter the new 2013 in limbo. So, I have been doing some thinking.
After calculations: Isn’t it better for Kuwait to run without parliament? If parliament is a showoff case to show the world that there is democracy, then is no need for that. We prefer if the country was run by the government alone and if they mean business and have plans to develop the country. The parliament so far has taken us 50 years backwards. I think if His Highness the Amir makes a referendum the people will opt for the no- parliament option.
The writer is a columnist at the Kuwait Times, where this article was published on Oct. 8, 2012