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Interior Ministry’s officials urged to redouble efforts ahead of elections

meetingKUWAIT: First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hamoud Al- Jaber Al-Sabah called on the security services and traffic department yesterday to redouble their effort and work in order to cope with the advent of the holy month of Ramadan and the forthcoming parliamentary elections. This came during a coordination meeting the minister held along with a number of ministry officials to prepare for the next phase. The minister listened to briefings from various departments on the ongoing security and traffic campaigns in various state governorates aimed at applying the law on all violators.

The minister also called on the ministry’s senior officials to prosecute beggars who exploit the atmosphere of faith for begging, stressing the need to act in accordance with an integrated plan in order to achieve comprehensive security and traffic flow ahead of the holy month and the parliamentary elections. The Cabinet is expected during its weekly meeting today (Monday) to form a committee that supervises parliamentary elections set for July 25th, a local daily reported yesterday quoting a government insider familiar with the issue. The source who spoke to Al-Jarida on the condition of anonymity further indicated that the committee is to be chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud Al- Sabah, and will be tasked with securing the elections process and all other duties that were handled by National Election Committee before it was dissolved by a Constitutional Court ruling last week.

The same source further told Al-Jarida that Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al- Rashidi prefers to stay in her position post elections rather than contesting for the parliament. On that regard, Al-Qabas daily reported that Al-Rashidi was told to make a decision sooner than later on order to remove any complications which could result if she runs for parliament. Unnamed sources quoted in the report explained that the minister is required to fill a significant number of leading vacant posts in the ministry, and filling them before resigning and then running in the elections could be interpreted as ‘favoritism’ to boost her chances of winning. “The minister needs to settle the issue as soon as possible and inform the prime minister who wants to guarantee clean elections”, the sources said.

On a related note, a government insider told Al-Qabas that a committee was formed featuring members from the social affairs, interior and Islamic affairs ministries to examine donations collected during Ramadan, and insure that charity money is not used to fund election campaigns. The government feels confident of holding successful elections with the return of multiple faces representing liberal and Islamist groups. On that regard, sources told Al-Rai recently that the Kuwait Democratic Forum does not have plans to stop members from contesting in the elections despite announcing rejection to the upholding of the single vote system.

While predicting that the group supports former MPs Mohammad Al-Abduljader in the second constituency and Faisal Al-Shaya in the third, the sources noted that the ‘Forum’ informed its members that support is only given if they “work to change the electoral system” from the parliament. Meanwhile, the same sources who preferred to remain unnamed indicated that the National Democratic Alliances, the umbrella of several liberal groups in Kuwait, is set to nominate candidates during a meeting next week. “So far, only former MP Mohammad Al-Saqr and Rakan Al-Nisf have been nominated, while people close to former MP Dr. Aseel Al-Awadhi confirmed that she is not contesting”, the sources said. In the meantime, the same sources predicted that the Salafist Islamic Movement is expected to support candidates in all but the first constituencies in the upcoming elections. Several reports suggested in the meantime that major tribes are currently coordinating to nominate candidates in the upcoming elections.

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This article was published on 23/06/2013