Amir confident MPs will not ‘misuse’ constitutional tools

Political crisis looms over prime minister’s grilling

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem and other lawmakers yesterday. – KUNA

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah trusts the wisdom of Assembly members in resisting any arbitrary use or abuse of some constitutional tools. Speaking to reporters at the National Assembly, Ghanem said he conveyed a message from HH the Amir to MPs, saying: “There is an arbitrary use or abuse of some constitutional tools. It is the responsibility of members to address this.”

He added that he and several other members met the Amir in order to listen to his directives and advice regarding both local and regional situations. Ghanem quoted HH the Amir as voicing confidence in members’ wisdom in taking action against such practices. The speaker also expressed confidence that MPs will live up to their responsibility towards the Amir’s letter and his previous speech during the opening of the current parliament session.

The remarks came as country may be sliding into a political crisis over the grilling of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, as lawmakers said yesterday there are suspicions the grilling is unconstitutional. The grilling, filed by leading opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, is on the agenda of tomorrow’s regular session for debate, but pro-government MP Khalaf Dumaitheer said he will propose that the grilling be sent to the Assembly’s legal and legislative committee to study whether it is constitutional or not. Khalil Al-Saleh, another pro-government lawmaker, said he has asked several constitutional experts and all of them said the grilling is not in line with the constitution.

Ghanem said there was no time to inform every lawmaker of HH the Amir’s message and therefore he decided to convey it through the media. Ghanem however did not say what he intends to do to implement HH the Amir’s directives, but other MPs openly said that the PM’s grilling is unconstitutional. Dumaitheer said the grilling should not have been filed against the prime minister because it deals with issues not related to him directly, and should have instead been filed against the concerned minister.

The grilling was filed following widespread flooding in the country due to heavy rains and accuses the prime minister of being responsible for the government’s failure to face the consequences of the rains. Dumaitheer also said there are some lawmakers who want the Assembly to be dissolved and that “we will not allow them to do so”. It is not clear what will happen during the grilling, but it is possible that it might be sent to the legal committee for its opinion on the issue.

In another development, the constitutional court yesterday set Dec 19 to issue its verdict on a petition claiming that article 16 of the Assembly charter is unconstitutional. The article was used by the Assembly to retain the membership of opposition MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Jamaan Al-Harbash, despite them being jailed by the court of cassation for storming the Assembly building in Nov 2011. If the court says the article is unconstitutional, it means that the two MPs will lose their seats in the Assembly.

By B Izzak

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