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Too Much Democracy For Some Kuwaitis

Is there such a thing as too much democracy? Kuwaitis looking to some of their prospering and autocratic neighbors —like Dubai, Abu Dubai, and Qatar — are beginning to think so.

In many ways, Kuwait is a shining example of democracy in the region. Today's New York Times explains that in Kuwait, Sunnis and Shiites get along, and there is a thriving civil society. Women were given the right to vote and run for office two years ago.

But, with the world's fifth largest oil reserves, many Kuwaitis feel they should be attracting more investment and economic progress. So who gets blamed? Democracy. According to the article, Parliament is seen as a body that bogs down new projects and Kuwait's potential. Kuwait has had trouble reforming its state-controlled economy, and legislation regarding foreign investment perpetually stalled.

Despite discontent, some admit that it is not democracy that it is the problem, but rather the way it is being used.

Is frustration with the government an inevitable by-product of democracy? If the majority of citizens want something other than representative democracy, is that a type of democracy itself? Can democracy in other regions take on a form that differs from the Western tradition?


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