3 MPs file to grill PM amid heated debate

KUWAIT: MPs attend a parliament session at the National Assembly yesterday. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Kuwait yesterday appeared headed for political turmoil after three opposition MPs filed to grill HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and more than 30 lawmakers publicly declared their support of the grilling. The number of supporters is well over the 25 MPs required to declare non-cooperation with the prime minister, leading to either dismissing the premier or dissolving the National Assembly elected just a month ago.

The filing of the grilling came after chaotic scenes during the Assembly’s first regular session after Deputy Speaker Ahmad Al-Shuhoumi, who chaired the session, rejected two motions by opposition MPs to form a parliamentary investigation committee to probe events that took place at the inaugural session on Dec 15.

Shuhoumi insisted that it is unconstitutional to form a parliamentary panel to investigate events at an Assembly session, while opposition MPs stressed that it is within the constitutional right of the Assembly to investigate what happened at the opening session. Heated exchanges and arguments forced Shuhoumi to adjourn the session until today, when more arguments and debates are expected on the issue. Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem is expected to chair today’s session.

Opposition lawmakers Thamer Al-Suwait, Bader Al-Dahoum and Khaled Al-Otaibi in their grilling accused the prime minister of ignoring the outcome of the general election by appointing provocative and unqualified ministers in the new Cabinet. They also accused him of interfering in the election of the speaker by supporting the candidate whom the majority of lawmakers rejected, saying this reflects a dangerous attitude. They also accused him of violating the constitution by failing to submit the government’s program as required under the constitution.

A number of MPs called for filing a non-cooperation motion against the prime minister at the end of the grilling. To pass, the motion needs the support of just 25 lawmakers. But with well over 30 MPs announcing they back the grilling, any non-cooperation motion is expected to pass. If the Assembly votes to back the non-cooperation motion, HH the Amir can either dismiss the prime minister and appoint a new premier or dissolve the Assembly and call for snap polls within two months.

During the debate on the motions to investigate events at the opening session, MP Bader Al-Humaidi, who lost the speakership contest to Ghanem, said he considers himself to be the legitimate speaker because he was the choice of the people, unlike Ghanem who was supported by the government.

Opposition lawmakers also rejected a decision by the Assembly office to form a four-member committee from its members to investigate what happened. Two members, Osama Al-Shaheen and Farz Al-Mutairi, yesterday resigned from the committee. Opposition MPs say that a group of supporters of Ghanem were illegally allowed into the gallery during the opening session, and insulted MPs and caused chaos before they were evicted. They also say that fake ballot papers for the speaker’s election were distributed to some MPs and demanded a criminal investigation.

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