Daily Israel Report

Kuwait Elections Declared for February 2

As corruption charges dominate headlines in Kuwait City, the emir is forging ahead with plans for new elections.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/19/2011, 9:23 PM

Sheik al-Sabah
Sheik al-Sabah
White House Photo

Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah declared Kuwait will go to the polls on February 2 to elect a new government.

The emir's decision comes as prosecutors in Kuwait City continue their probe into fifteen lawmakers who are believed to have sold their votes to the previous government.

Two weeks ago the government of Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammad resigned en toto when allegations of corruption led the opposition to storm the parliament building demanding he step down.

The mass resignation led the emir to install a caretaker government and dissolve parliament due to a staged refusal to attend committee meetings by the ruling party.

Sheikh Nasser is also accused of funneling millions into his personal foreign bank accounts. The final destination of some $300 million in public funds is still being traced.

Analysts note despite the collapse of Kuwait's government the nation is not experiencing an "Arab Spring" revolution. They note Kuwaitis, who are one of the most prosperous and well fed populations per capita in the region, are not prone to revolution.

The outgoing parliament made history by being the first in Kuwait's history to have women among the lawmakers. Four women were elected in the last elections.

Regional observers are curious to know if the feat will be repeated in the next elections due to the intensely tribal nature of Kuwait's electoral politics.

The emir has tasked the Kuwait Transparency Society to monitor the election procedure for the 14th legislative body and to cooperate with the information and interior ministries to reinforce transparency and honesty.

Sheikh Nasser has resigned five times since 2006. Kuwait’s parliament has been dissolved three times since 2006 as well.

Under Kuwait's constitution, should the winners of the next elections prove unable to form a government, Sheikh Nasser's government will be reconstituted.