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Kuwait- Barrak vows 'peaceful' take-down of parliament at sparse Erada rally  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab Times - 20/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab Times) A few hundred citizens gathered in Al-Erada Square on Sunday to call for the boycott of the upcoming parliament elections on Dec. 1 in objection to the one-vote electoral system.

The rally was part of the 'election boycott campaign' organized by democratic alliances. Citizens, including members of the opposition Majority Bloc and other political activists, wore orange 'boycott' scarves. A number of protestors also held placards in support of the arrested Twitter activists and announced that they were in the square in solidarity with the detainees.

MP Musallam Al-Barrak said the "government wants to revise the Constitution through the next Assembly" and stressed that the opposition "will use all peaceful means to bring down this parliament".

On his part, writer Ibrahim Al-Mulaifi said that the detained Twitter activists will not be forgotten. "This second era of development is to expand prisons for those with opinions," he added. Al-Mulaifi stressed that all the major groups of the political scene are boycotting the elections.

Professor Dr Ibtihal Al-Khatib stressed the need of a plan beyond boycotting elections as boycott is a means but not an end. She said that civil societies must have a role in order to revive the government. "What is required today is rationality in discourse away from sectarianism as it will play in favor of the government which will use it to distort the boycott and the popular political movement," she added.

Rakan Al-Fadalah, a member of the boycott campaign, said "for the first time in Kuwait we have a decree that divides the Kuwaiti people". It is an issue of principle, he added, not an issue of advantages and disadvantages.

"The boycott is not in defiance of HH the Amir but only against the decree. Changes to the electoral law should be done in the parliament," he said.

The Majority Bloc met earlier on Sunday and decided to put up orange banners on top of the diwaniyas of some of its members that will symbolize the boycott of elections in objection to the one-vote system. They further decided to activate popular and youth committees in all five constituencies to urge citizens to boycott elections.

On another note, former speaker of parliament Jassem Al-Khorafi said that only "a certain percentage will boycott the upcoming elections but the majority of the citizens will participate". Speaking at an Omani Embassy festivity, Al-Khorafi added that the boycott will not affect elections and there must be respect for the differences of opinions away from the language of accusations and suspicions.

The opposition forces, made up of Islamists, nationals and liberals, are protesting HH the Amir's decision to reduce the number of votes citizens are allowed to cast from four to one. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah took the decision in October after dissolving the 2009 Assembly.

The controversial 2009 Assembly was dissolved December 2011 after opposition-led protests but was reinstated by the Constitutional Court in June. The court further scrapped the opposition-led 2012 Assembly after it was elected in February. The Dec 1 poll will be the second parliament election held this year.

In objection to the electoral amendment, which the opposition believes was aimed at securing a pro-government parliament, rallies and marches were organized. They were met with tear gas, smoke bombs, stun grenades and arrests by the Interior Ministry.

Organizers of the 'Nation's Dignity' marches on Twitter further announced intentions to hold a third rally in protest of the new electoral system as well as a recently signed GCC security agreement. This is despite the Interior Ministry's warnings that it will not be lenient on "illegal" demonstrations outside Al-Erada Square.


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