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A Political Vacuum in Kuwait

We bid farewell to 2022 after all our institutions, agencies, and ministries have been emptied of their leaders. In fact, the wave of political resignations has been so widespread in the past few weeks, that they reached a record number of 15 resignations in one single day. The reasons behind this development are clear. Throughout the month of December, rumors have spread about the fact that starting in 2023, the Kuwaiti government will no longer pay pensions to government employees who enter retirement. Despite never formally being corroborated or denied by the government, the rumors worked. Dozens of public servants submitted their resignation in an effort to protect their healthy retirement salaries – which provide up to 80% of an employee’s regular pay – before the new policy kicks in. Today, Kuwait is almost empty of leaders, except in rare and exceptional cases. 2023 has ushered in an era of political vacuum, with ministries and government offices left devoid of their leaders. Of course, many of the retirees aren’t leaving a huge void behind them. Indeed, there are government offices and institutions that are better off today, without any leadership, than they would have otherwise been with an inept leader. But there are also those offices where the departure of a figurehead will undoubtedly leave a void and a mark. Therefore, it is important that we fill up these positions as soon as possible. First, to make sure that the work and progress of these institutions aren’t hindered. Second, to encourage innovation and empower more qualified people, especially women, to take on key positions in government and public service. We have found ourselves in a rare administrative situation. But we welcome the new year with a warm welcome for a new generation of leaders. Let us hope that this new year will be good for our institutions and for Kuwait. –Asrar Joohood Hayat (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)