Kuwait elite told: Stop being selfish

Kuwait's ruling elite has been warned to stop being selfish, sectarian and tribal.

    Al-Sabah says democracy means no disagreement

    In a stern address, Prime Minister Shaikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah also urged MPs not to clash with ministers "in the name of democracy".

    The Kuwaiti prime minister called on parliament to avoid dissent as it reopened for the first time since the toppling of former President Saddam Hussein in neighbouring Iraq. 

    The call came on Monday at the beginning of a new full legislative term in the conservative Gulf emirate.  

    His comments may raise eyebrows as Kuwait is not known to be one of the most flourishing democracies in the region.

    "In the name of democracy, we make threats and carry out practices which do not belong to the code of democracy," al-Sabah told MPs, in a reference to several threats by lawmakers to grill ministers. 

    "We should stay away from party, sectarian, tribal and selfish interests ... we must stop hurling accusations without evidence"



    Prime Minister Shaikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah

    "We should stay away from party, sectarian, tribal and selfish interests... We must stop hurling accusations without evidence... We should not abuse freedom and democracy," the influential premier warned. 


      
    He invoked "democracy" as a means of creating consensus and avoiding "more crises and tension between the legislature and the government, [resulting] in political instability and [causing] concern and desperation among the citizens," he said.

    'Delicate and dangerous'

    The premier also has warned that the region is passing through a "period which is highly delicate and very dangerous," and urged MPs not to ignore the huge changes taking place after the overthrow of Saddam.

    The new term was declared open by Amir Shaikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Sabah who also urged for cooperation to safeguard Kuwait and its people.

    The new 50-member national assembly, which enjoys legislative and monitoring powers, was elected in July's general polls that saw government's liberal and Islamic opposition lose and pro-government and independents win.
     
    Liberal-leaning Shaikh Sabah, a half-brother of the amir, is the first prime minister in decades who is not a crown prince. He took charge from ailing Shaikh Saad al-Abd Allah al-Sabah, who remains the crown prince.

    SOURCE: AFP


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