Middle East Online has reported on plans by the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood to “refocus on Islamist issues” in order to deal with recent electoral losses. According to the report:
When Kuwait’s two largest Islamist groups sifted through the ashes of last year’s election, they were left with the reality that voters had deserted them in droves and their representation in the National Assembly was reduced by more than half. The defeats spurred the conservatives into long periods of introspection and now two new leaders have emerged. Both have been charged with rebuilding the mandate that has made the groups major parliamentary forces in the past. “We’ve been hit. It was very difficult, emotionally, on all of our team,” said Naser al Sane, the secretary general of the Islamic Constitutional Movement, also known as Hadas, a group that has ideological roots in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. “But I think we were able to get over the shock in the last few months and we are back on our feet. Everybody is eager to do something. We don’t consider this the end of the road, we realise that we have a lot of potential and capabilities, and we can rebuild again,” al Sane said. Hadas reached its popular peak in the 2006 elections, when it won six of 50 available seats, a significant tally in the fractious chamber. When the parliament was dissolved in 2009, there were three Hadas representatives, including al Sane. When the votes were counted in May last year, only one of the “Ikhwan” – Arabic for brothers, as they are commonly known – remained. In the aftermath of the result, the former secretary general, Bader al Nashi, resigned. al Sane, who did not stand in the election, said he took control of the party in September and appointed his political office this month after the movement evaluated “what went wrong”. A statistical analysis of the results found that “all political groups that are well organised have been hit,” al Sane said. “We lost, the Salafis lost, the Shias lost and the liberals lost.” Despite, its poor return of seats, Hadas still got more votes nationally than all of the country’s other organised political groups, he said. “We are number one. What does that tell us? Our tactics are not so good.” The movement fielded candidates from small tribes in the country’s tribal constituencies that had little chance of success against members of the larger tribes, he said. Hadas will now focus on “institution building”, including the launch of a non-governmental organisation to promote and monitor the country’s development and a political training office. He wants the group to refocus on “Islamist issues” – such as the gradual implementation of Sharia – that he believes lies at the root of its previous success, before it was “politicised”. “This is what our followers and members traditionally love, this is the mainstream, I would say. Some people think that we have shifted a little bit away from that so we have to get it back.”
A previous post discussed 2008 Kuwaiti elections in which the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) saw its seats in the parliament reduced by half in the midst of strong gains by Salafi and other Islamist factions.