Parliamentary Boycotts in Kuwait and Bahrain Cost Opposition

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Citizens of the Gulf’s leading parliamentary monarchies have access to a pressure point that other Gulf citizens do not: If the ruling family-led executive is refusing reforms or taking unilateral political actions, they may withhold their participation in elections. Yet this past month dramatically demonstrated the limited power of the political boycott, and the considerable cost of leaving the formal political arena. In Kuwait and Bahrain, the leading opposition political figure and political society respectively have been banned from politics following the passage of new laws passed by the parliament: the very institution they are boycotting.

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