Kuwait Boycott Foils 2nd Attempt to Swear in Cabinet
Only four members of Kuwait’s 50 seat parliament attended a session on Tuesday to swear in a new cabinet, in the second such boycott in a week. The speaker of the assembly said that he will not try to convene another such assembly, and will instead “take the matter to his highness the emir,” making the prospects for the body’s dissolution much more likely.
Meanwhile, the ruling al-Sabah family continues to distance themselves from one of its own members who had criticized the government for corruption. An official press release touted the royal family’s pride in Kuwait’s democracy while condemning any family members “who misuse their freedom of expression to instigate chaos through the media.” In particular, the statement adds “We outrightly reject the statements issued by Sheikh Meshal and we have repeatedly asked him to give up his wrong ideologies.” Sheikh Meshal was arrested last week for expressing political views deemed offensive after suggesting on Twitter that he would run for parliament and expose corruption.
Also, Kristian Coates Ulrichsen blasts neighboring United Arab Emirates for what he calls a disturbing trajectory that “suggests that its rulers are simply unable or unwilling to comprehend or tolerate any form of political plurality.” With 50 people detained since May 2012, of whom the whereabouts of 38 remain unknown, and a political structure with little institutionalized constraints on the royal family’s power, Ulrichsen argues that the UAE has marked itself as “one of the most authoritarian political systems in the region.” Ulrichsen also laments that given the heavy investment of foreign institutions in the country, the likelihood of Western objection to these alarming crackdowns remains slim.