By Fawaz Al-Otaibi

KUWAIT, June 20 (KUNA) -- Kuwait marks Friday the 50th anniversary of the first municipal election in the state's modern history as well as the first democratic practice for Kuwaitis after independence.
"It was the first step in Kuwait's democratic march as it allowed people to directly choose the administration that runs their daily life affairs," Current Chairman of Kuwait Municipality Muhalhal Nasser Al-Khaled told KUNA.
He pointed out that the elected municipality is a major pillar of the government as it holds a wide array of responsibilities such as planning local communities development, issuing planning permissions, building and supervising markets.
"The first municipality was elected municipal after the endorsement of Kuwaiti constitution on 20 June 1964 and the first municipality chairman was Mohammed Yousef Al-Adsani," Al-Khaled said.
Kuwait, since its independence in 1961, has witnessed eleven municipal elections.
According to incumbent Kuwaiti Municipality law, the municipality is responsible for safeguarding of the architectural heritage; reviewing and endorsing structural plans, lands' surveys, organization of cities, villages and, suburbs, regions and islands and their beautification.
It shall also undertake the safeguarding of the public health through the assurance of the foodstuffs safety, the safekeeping of public comfort, of cleanliness, of the environment's safety and its protection.It is also responsible for inspection of real estates, their surveys, their delimitation, the undertaking of their drawings, and the computation of their spaces.
For his part, Kuwaiti Municipality Member Osama Al-Otaibi recalled the great role played by the Municipality running people's affairs in the past fifty years as well as before the endorsement of constitution in 1964.
"The Municipality was the first national entity entitled to regulate and supervise urbanization of Kuwait and provision of public services in the history of Kuwait," Al-Otaibi told KUNA.
He underlined that Kuwaitis will not forget the great role played by the municipality during the times of distress and natural disasters such as the floods that swept the country early last century.
Al-Otaibi noted that the Kuwait Municipality has close relations and work in collaboration with the different state bodies to provide the best services to people.
Meanwhile, Kuwait Municipality Secretary General Yusuf Al-Saqaabi described the Municipality as a national body through which Kuwaitis have made great achievements that pushed their country's to prominence in the region.
He noted that Municipality's organizational structure and work mechanisms have remarkable developed over years.
Kuwait municipality was founded on April 13, 1930 during the reign of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, tenth ruler of Kuwait. He ruled the state between the years 1921 and 1950.
The Municipality was launched following a visit to Bahrain by one of the most prominent men here, Sheikh Youssef Bin Issa Al-Qina'i, who made a visit to Bahrain in July 1928 and saw for himself the way the 1919-founded Bahrain Municipality operated.
Following the visit, the idea of founding the Kuwait Municipality was put forward to the late ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber. He approved the plan and said that the municipality would help the state's revival at health and social levels.
One year after the municipality was founded a law was passed to govern its activities. The law stipulated that the municipality consisted of 12 members and a mayor. The municipality now has its own rules and regulations because the municipality's role consists not only in cleaning the streets and collecting fees, but also in implementing infrastructure work for the city.
In 1933, the municipality moved to its current location in Safat Square. Meanwhile, the municipal law that prevailed in the 1920s continued to prevail until 1954 when it was replaced by another law.
The new law stipulated, in its first clause that the municipality should be financially independent and should work towards the city's prosperity at health, social and civil levels.
The municipality's executive power lays in the hands of the mayor, who is assisted by the director-general of the municipality, along with executive staff in charge of administrative, financial, technical and health affairs.
At the end of the 1950s, a new higher council took over in Kuwait. It comprised heads of various government sectors as well as several wise men.
A new municipal law was launched in 1970 allowing the municipality to work towards the "embellishment of the city as well as keeping law and order and preserving main squares along with the street's tidiness. In 1973, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, issued a new municipal law stipulating in its first clause that the municipality should have its independent character and that it should report directly to the Prime Minister's office. (end) fz.abd.ibi