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Kuwaiti youth groups merge into one party

Youth groups in oil-rich Kuwait merge to form Democratic Civil Movement to press for full parliamentary system

AFP , Wednesday 29 Feb 2012
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Several Kuwaiti youth groups, which led unprecedented pro-democracy protests, have merged into a single movement to intensify their campaign of reforms, an activist said on Wednesday.

"All youth organisations have dissolved themselves ... and together formed a political group named the Democratic Civil Movement (DCM) open for all youth," one of the founders of the new group, Yahya Al-Dakheel, told AFP.

"The aim of DCM is to press for fundamental democratic reforms to achieve a full parliamentary system in Kuwait" where the prime minister will be elected from outside the Al-Sabah ruling family, he said.

Other objectives include reforming the election law to transform Kuwait into a single electoral constituency with legalising political parties, he added. DCM has the backing of at least five members of the new 50-seat parliament where the opposition controls a comfortable majority.

Encouraged by the Arab Spring, Kuwaiti youth groups led street rallies throughout last year and played a key role in forcing the resignation of former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in November.

His resignation was followed by the emir dissolving parliament and calling for snap polls on 2 February. Under the unique form of democracy in the oil-rich Gulf state of Kuwait, the prime minister and key ministers must be from the ruling family and unelected cabinet ministers become members of parliament.

The new movement plans to hold elections within the next two weeks for the main office bearers, besides its 15-member political bureau, Dakheel said.

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