Kuwait: Interview with Member of Parliament Dr. Rola Dashti
Arab Reform Bulletin (ARB): Since the election of the current parliament in May 2009, relations between the parliament and the government seem to have improved, after many episodes in which the parliament was dissolved. In December, the prime minister agreed to be questioned by the parliament for the first time. Have relations changed and, if so, why?
Dashti: There is no question that Kuwait in the last four years has gone through a lot of political turmoil, which created frustration about the prospects for democracy. In the May 16, 2009 elections people voted for a change and sent the message that they were fed up with the bickering between the government and the parliament. The parliament, particularly the new members, understood the message very well. The first test came only three weeks into our session, when there was a request to interpellate the interior minister. The government accommodated the request and the interior minister went through interrogation and vote of no confidence procedure, and the parliament rewarded it by giving the minister a vote of confidence. It showed the government that if you're working and moving forward, you're going to get the support of the majority of the parliament.
After the recess there were requests to interpellate the prime minister, defense minister, interior minister, and municipality minister. The timing was very critical, because it happened just when Kuwait was hosting the Gulf Cooperation Council summit. There was tension in the air, because the prime minister is from the ruling family and might be a future emir. Luckily the government agreed to the interpellations and received in return votes of confidence for all four ministers, and as we say, the score was 4-0. So “4-0” has become a watchword to warn those who would like to disrupt stability and return to the old way of doing things.
March 9, 2010