Assembly sessions not nullified in govt absence: Expert

KUWAIT: Constitutional expert Muhammed Al-Faili said article 116 of the constitution does not technically nullify National Assembly sessions if the government is absent, and that the current norm of adjourning the session was started by late MP Othman Khalil in 1964, who believed the session must be adjourned because the government is not participating.

“His opinion could have been based on the basis that not enabling a member to attend invalidates the meeting because it is similar to not inviting them to attend the meeting, which is a valid opinion. The simplest way to clarify the basis of the opinion is to rely on the operative part of article 116, even if it does not determine the penalty resulting from the violation. What helped this is its rationality, which is an important part of the oversight aspect of jurisdiction, which assumes that at least one member of the government must be present,” Faili explained.

“Moreover, resorting to it was for a few cases and for a very short period as there was an informal agreement. However, its prolonged use opened the door to re-examination of texts,” he added. “Giving legal value to this has led to the emergence of a tool in dealing between the government and the parliament that violates the constitutionally drawn mechanisms. In conclusion, little of this was useful from a practical point of view and was politically acceptable, even if its scientific basis was not sound, but its excessive use revealed the seriousness of its side effects and its technical unsoundness,” he concluded.

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