Two key liberal groups called yesterday for important democratic reforms that include establishing an independent election commission, legalising political parties and issuing legislation to combat corruption as part of democratic reforms necessary to resolve the political deadlock in the country. The National Democratic Alliance, an umbrella group of liberals, and the Kuwait Democratic Forum, made the calls in a joint statement which insisted that these are essential demands to gradually achieving a full parliamentary system of governance after 50 years of democracy. Kuwait does not have an independent election commission and the ministries of interior and justice organize and manage the election process and declare results, whereas the constitutional court tackles challenges to election results or the election process. The statement also called for issuing legislation to guarantee more independence of the judicial authority and to support the constitutional court in order guarantee all factors for a fair judiciary.
The two groups warmly welcomed the unprecedented verdict by the constitutional court about two weeks ago in which it nullified the February elections, scrapped the 2012 national Assembly and reinstated the 2009 Assembly which was dissolved by the Amir in December last year. It said the ruling, which declared the two Amiri decrees as illegal, is a major gain for the Kuwaiti people and the Kuwaiti democratic system, describing it as a qualitative democratic development. The two groups said that in order to strengthen, complete and develop the democratic experiment in a bid to achieve the desired civil society target, fundamental democratic reforms must be undertaken. The statement also called for ensuring the freedom of expression, of worship and the press and to criminalize hate speech that has succeeded in creating divisions in the society.
The statement by the two groups came a day after liberal MPs and activists organized a gathering that appeared to counter that of the larger Islamist and conservative opposition which had controlled a majority in the annulled Assembly. Speakers at the gathering strongly lashed out at the alleged disputes within the Al-Sabah ruling family and indirectly blamed the opposition for spreading a culture of aggressive criticism and sowing tension in the society.