Kuwait on Saturday marked the golden jubilee of its constitution with a spectacular $15-million fireworks display which earned the wealthy Gulf state a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“I am happy to verify that with 77,282 fireworks, a new Guinness world record has been set tonight” in Kuwait City, a representative of Guinness World Records announced on Kuwait television at the end of the display.
Tens of thousands of Kuwaitis and expatriates filled the seaside Arabian Gulf Road where the one-hour fireworks and laser display was staged to mark the 50th anniversary of the constitution.
On November 11, 1962, the late emir Sheikh Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah promulgated the constitution for Kuwait to become the first Arab state in the Gulf to issue a constitution and have a parliament.
Ahead of the celebration, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah reiterated in a televised speech the government’s unwavering commitment to democracy and called for national unity as the oil-rich Gulf state goes through a bitter political crisis.
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. It insists that the emir must repeal the amendment.