Kuwait liberal MPs call for end to ban on parties


Kuwait allows more political freedom than other Gulf Arab states with parliament having to approve the budget and all key laws but political parties are banned.

"This law, which aims to give political parties a legal form … is a mean to prepare for a suitable political environment," said the draft, a copy of which obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

The bill will become law only after approval by the floor, the cabinet and the ruler. Its introduction may force the government to explain why parties are banned.

The unofficial Islamist Umma party has been pressing for years to allow political parties to operate in Kuwait as a way to end repeated standoffs between parliament and the government that have dominated political life for years.

With only loose blocs allowed, analysts say the parliamentary work is often ineffective and deputies change alliances or swamp the floor with uncoordinated motions or pursue personal vendettas with ministers.

Kuwait’s ruler dissolved the assembly in March to end a prolonged row between deputies and the cabinet but cooperation has not much improved since a May election.

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