Ở khu vực chuyên quyền, tia sáng dân chủ khi người dân Kuwait bỏ phiếu

với người cai trị mới nắm quyền, tiểu vương quốc giàu dầu mỏ bầu ra Quốc hội mới lần thứ tư trong bốn năm trong khi đang phải vật lộn với tình trạng bất ổn chính trị

As the clock struck noon on Thursday, the doors to dozens of polling stations (trạm bỏ phiếu) across Kuwait opened and voters rushed in to elect one of the Middle East’s most robust Parliaments.

Candidates set up makeshift headquarters in tents, and coffee shops pledged discounts to voters. Swarms of people waited to cast their ballots — even though it was the fourth time in four years that they had been called upon to choose a new Parliament.

Kuwait is far from a full democracy (dân chủ): Its ruler is a hereditary monarch, political parties are illegal, and the emir has the power to dissolve Parliament — the cause of Thursday’s snap election. Frequent deadlocks between Parliament and the executive branch have led to political turmoil.

But across a Middle East where many states are becoming more repressive (đàn áp), Kuwait represents a rare alternative, scholars say, nurturing elements of democracy (nuôi dưỡng yếu tố dân chủ) even after Arab Spring uprisings across the region were crushed more than a decade ago and countries including Tunisia and Egypt began to march back toward authoritarianism.

But that changed in February, when Parliament was given the task of responding to the ruler’s speech, a customary practice, and voted on approving a law stipulating (pháp luật quy định) an annual salary for Sheikh Mishal of about $160 million. In a public speech, Abdulkarim Al Kandari, a member of Parliament, made comments that some interpreted as critical of Sheikh Mishal, although Mr. Al Kandari later said that he had simply been “defending Parliament and the people.”

Soon after, Sheikh Mishal issued a decree dissolving (nghị định giải thể) Parliament, stating that it had “violated the Constitution” by “using improper terms” to address the ruler. That dissolution paved the way for the vote on Thursday; Mr. Al Kandari was re-elected, with the highest number of votes of any candidate in his district.

source: nytimes,

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