Opposition urged to unite for speaker’s post
KUWAIT: The Cabinet tendered its resignation to HH the Amir yesterday following the parliamentary elections as required under the Kuwaiti constitution. The action is not linked to the strong showing of the opposition groups in the snap general election, but is a procedural requirement. After the Amir holds customary consultations with former Assembly speakers and premiers expected to start from today, he will either reappoint outgoing Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah or ask another senior member of the ruling family to form the next Cabinet.
Before stepping down, the Cabinet approved an Amiri decree calling for the new National Assembly to hold its inaugural session on Dec 11 after forming the new Cabinet. The new Cabinet is expected to undergo a great change to reflect the results of the Assembly election, especially with the opposition and its allies winning nearly half of the 50 seats. This will enable the opposition to grill and even vote ministers out of office because they need a maximum of 25 votes. They also can grill the premier and vote him out of office. The new Cabinet is expected to be formed next week. There have been demands by many election candidates, some of whom won Assembly seats, for appointing new faces in the Cabinet.
In the meantime, the battle for the next speaker appears to have started. Opposition leader and former Islamist MP Faisal Al-Mislem called on the three opposition aspirants for the post – MPs Abdullah Al-Roumi, Mohammad Al-Mutair and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri – to select one candidate between themselves to face the speaker of the outgoing house Marzouq Al-Ghanem.
The support of the government, which will have its 16 members as one bloc, is critical for the next speaker. Without the government votes, it is extremely difficult for anyone to win. The government’s likely choice should be Ghanem, who cooperated very well with it in the previous Assembly, but new political realities could change the picture. The opposition members are expected to start holding meetings to form a bloc or a number of blocs in the Assembly and coordinate the election of the next speaker. Meetings are expected to take place before this weekend.
The National Democratic Alliance, a liberal opposition grouping, yesterday said it will not participate in the next government. The group, which normally participated with more than one minister, said its decision is based on the previous government’s performance, defending ministers with suspicions around them and the absence of accountability.
NDA also called for reading well the results of the election and set priorities for the new Assembly. It said its top priority is to work out a new election law which has political and popular support, completing the judicial independence legislation, reconsidering a draft law for political parties and scrapping the DNA testing and political exclusion laws. The alliance strongly criticized the existing voting system, saying it has fragmented the Kuwaiti society.
Islamist opposition MP Jamaan Al-Harbash, tipped to lead the opposition bloc, said the results of the election have strongly annoyed the government because of the failure of its voting system to produce a government majority, and also because of a strong opposition.
By B Izzak