GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Political Behaviors on Elections in Kuwait: The Adaptation tothe Electoral Reform by tribes and its Socio-economic Consequences
Paper Proposal Text :
This paper would like to examine the causal reasoning the change of political behavior of political groups, especially tribes, triggered by the electoral reform since 2006 in Kuwait, from the perspective of socio-economic consequences.

Although Kuwait is not classified as a democratic regime, competitive elections have been intermittently implemented since 1960\'s after the independent. Since the 1990s, opposition members of the parliament have challenged to the power of the emirate, which aimed at realizing the formation of the government with the elected members as heads, proceeded with organizing the members\' activities through the formation of parliamentary blocs according to political orientations such as liberals, populist, and Islamist. As a part of it, the reform of the election system in 2006 was epochal in that the opposition members led and realized the improvement of the proportionality by correcting the disparity in the relative weight of one vote. However, this reform caused the change of political behavior of tribal representatives who served each tribal interest, was considered to be a royalist until then, and was against the electoral reform turns to the opposition. As a consequence of that, it brought about serious conflict between the parliament and the government over economic policies.

Discussing the correlation such a change in the political behaviors of tribal groups with electoral reform, we will first examine the change of competitive conditions in elections after the reform in 2006. Second, with regard to political behaviors of tribal groups, we will examine parameters which determine characteristics of their behaviors such as their demographic background, their stand point within the social cleavage, government policy against them, and their historical relationship with ruling family. In this paper, we focus on their demographic background, especially their socio-economic conditions indicated by budget expenditure for municipal affairs, and examine causal relations between their involvement in the decision-making process of economic policy on distribution of oil rent and changes in budget expenditure as socio-economic consequences.

Through the above-mentioned procedures, this paper shows following implications in terms of comparative analysis. First, Contrasted the political behavior of the tribal group and the formation of the royalist, whose research has not been sufficient in the past Kuwaiti politics or politics analysis in the Middle East, with fruitful existing works on the organizing process and political behaviors of opposition mainly consist of Islamist group, it illustrates the process of democratization under the monarchy and development of parliamentary politics as the institutionalization of constitutional monarchy. Second, it shows a comparable example for examining how the entry of new political forces due to the improvement of competitiveness and proportionality in the electoral competition reflect in enhancing the distribution in the economic policy, make the existing urban elites conservatize to protect their vested interests, and as a consequence, have the effect of stagnating and retreating democratization.