November 10, 2012 marked the golden jubilee of Kuwait’s constitution and the country celebrated it with a spectacular $15-million fireworks display which earned the wealthy Gulf state a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Tens of thousands of Kuwaitis and expatriates filled the seaside Arabian Gulf Road to watch the dazzling display of colors and light that saw a staggering 77,282 fireworks launched over a period of one hour. The visual presentation marked 50 years to the day since the late emir Sheikh Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah announced that Kuwait had become the first Arab state in the Gulf to issue a constitution and have a parliament.
During the past 50 years, parliament was dissolved nine times, six of them since mid-2006, while some articles of the constitution itself were frozen twice to suspend parliament for a total of 11 years in the 1970s and 1980s.
The celebration came as the government and opposition are locked in one of the worst showdowns in the OPEC member’s history, amid accusations by the opposition that the government has staged a coup against the constitution.
More than 150 people and 24 policemen were slightly hurt during three massive demonstrations held by the opposition to protest against the amendment of the electoral law ordered by the emir last month.
The opposition claims the amendment is in breach of the constitution and allows the government to influence the outcome of parliamentary polls slated for December 1.