Veteran MP and leader of the opposition liberal Kuwait Democratic Forum (KDF) Sami al-Munayyes died of heart attack in Cairo late Wednesday night, newspapers reported.
Munayyes, 68, was a leading government critic. Elected to the first Kuwaiti parliament in 1963, he served six terms as an MP.
Following the 1991 Gulf War, Munayyes was elected secretary-general of the (KDF), a political grouping that has been used as a platform for the emirate's former Arab nationalists and leftists. In 1994, he became its president.
A staunch supporter of women's political rights, Munayyes and four other MPs presented a draft bill in parliament a few weeks ago calling for Kuwaiti women, now disenfranchised, to be granted full political rights.
The bill is expected to be reviewed by parliament when it reconvenes in October.
Munayyes began his life as an Arab nationalist activist. In the early 1960s, he headed the emirate's Al-Istiqlal (Independence) Club, which was shut down by the government 10 years later.
He also established Al-Talea weekly in 1965. It became the mouthpiece for the KDF and led the way in pressing for radical political reforms, especially the separation of the dual post of the crown prince and Prime Minister.
Acting speaker MP Adnan Abdel Samad mourned Munayyes for his "great contributions to democracy in Kuwait and for refusing to relent to pressures throughout his life."
Under Kuwaiti law, elections must be held within two months to fill the seat that was held by Munayyes - KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )