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Kuwait's parliamentary elections on Nov. 26 produced significant changes in the balance of power between opposition groups and the state. On Oct. 16, the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved Parliament and announced snap elections in order to diffuse opposition to subsidy cuts and consolidate parliamentary support. The government also turned a blind eye to illegal tribal primaries that took place in several electoral districts in Kuwait to avoid further agitating tribal opposition.These powers allow citizens to challenge the government through formal institutions and amplify the importance of parliamentary elections in Kuwait as opposed to other Gulf Arab countries. The latest elections position Kuwait's opposition as a genuinely powerful force whose electoral gains have complicated but not foiled the government's plans to ensure financial sustainability while maintaining political stability.The effects of this change were limited in Kuwait's 2013 elections because many tribal groups boycotted them.As a result, Kuwait's new Parliament includes representatives from less-powerful tribes, including the Anazzah and Dosari.Thus while the government now faces a larger opposition, it is also a more diverse one. By exploiting these divisions, Kuwait's government may be able to mitigate opposition gains.
The entangled politics of Kuwait’s bidoon issue
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