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Kuwait must choose between law and chaos: emir

Kuwait's emir calls on nation to choose between state of law or chaos after country witnesses unrest over latest electoral legislation reducing electoral right to vote for up to four candidates to just one

AFP , Tuesday 6 Nov 2012
Kuwaiti emir
Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah (Photo: Reuters)
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Kuwait's emir called on Tuesday for his people to choose between a state of law or chaos after the oil-rich Gulf state witnessed unprecedented unrest over the disputed electoral legislation.

"We are required today to choose between the state of law and constitution... or the path to chaos and undermining constitutional authority," Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said as he met commanders of the army, police and national guard.

Around 150 protesters and 24 policemen were slightly hurt during three demonstrations over the past two weeks by the opposition, which is protesting an amendment to the electoral law.

Sheikh Sabah stressed that there will be no leniency in confronting actions that may undermine the security and stability of the OPEC member and vowed to apply the law to all without any hesitation.

He praised the commanders for efficiently handling "violence and irresponsible practices carried out by some individuals by organising illegal gatherings and processions."

The opposition, comprised of Islamists, nationalists and liberals, has vowed that it will continue its "peaceful" protests until the disputed amendment is scrapped, and have announced plans for a big gathering on Sunday.

In a televised speech on Monday, the emir said he will not withdraw the legislation he ordered on October 19 and accused the opposition of holding illegal demonstrations that have caused fear and anxiety among people.

Under the previous law, a Kuwaiti voter was allowed to select up to four candidates. That was reduced to one under the amendment.

The opposition claims the amendment will elect a pro-government parliament and will encourage corruption and vote-buying at the polls.

Over the past several days, state-run television has shown the 83-year-old ruler receiving a large number of delegations to express loyalty and support for his policies and actions.

The opposition claims that the turnout at its protests has been the biggest in Kuwait's history.

On Tuesday, the opposition launched what it called the "Popular Committee for Boycotting the Election." In its first message on Twitter, it insisted that the December 1 parliamentary polls are illegitimate.

Almost all opposition groups have announced they are boycotting the polls.
 

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