Kuwait Islamists signal cooperation after elections

A Kuwaiti Islamist political group signalled on Wednesday it would cooperate more with the government after next month's election, raising the prospect that delayed economic reforms could finally be passed into law.

Kuwait Islamists signal cooperation after elections

The Islamists also told the government it must curb inflation in the major OPEC producer.

Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved parliament last month after its row with cabinet stalled key economic legislation, such as plans to create a financial regulator. He called an election for May 17.

In its electoral programme, the Islamic Constitutional Movement, one of the biggest Muslim groups in Kuwait, indicated it would cooperate with the next cabinet and support plans to diversify the economy away from oil.

"The responsibility of the next assembly is to cooperate with the government on the basis of mutual respect and responsible commitment of the two authorities to do their tasks," the programme said, according to a copy obtained by Reuters.

The Islamists, who had six deputies in the last 50-strong assembly and who are fielding at least nine candidates in this race, said they would help develop the private sector and the oil sector. They did not say if they would allow the involvement of Western oil majors.

The Islamist programme called for more action to fight inflation, which hit a record of 7.54 percent in December, saying the government should help citizens "to cope with economic changes and rising living costs."

Inflation is expected to take centre stage in the polls, though experts say the government can do little since prices are driven by the rising cost of food imports to the desert state.

Members of the group were behind a tough grilling of former health minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah last year, which led to the resignation of the previous cabinet.

Some 240 Kuwaiti, including 14 women have registered as candidates so far. No women made it into the last assembly.

Reuters

Last Mod: 17 Nisan 2008, 09:10
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