By B Izzak
KUWAIT: The constitutional court set next Wednesday to look into a petition challenging its March 19 ruling annulling the 2022 elections and scrapping the National Assembly. The petition was signed by six members of the 2022 Assembly, who are arguing that the court had exceeded its powers in issuing that verdict.
Meanwhile, veteran opposition leader and former speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun was among 23 new candidates who filed their nomination papers to run in the June 6 general polls, which a candidate described as a “bone-breaking election”. Former MP Marzouq Al-Khalifa, serving a two-year jail term for taking part in outlawed tribal primary elections, on Wednesday registered to run in the election from jail after a senior election department officer visited him. In the September polls, Khalifa registered for the election, then handed himself over to authorities. He won a seat while in prison.
Former MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said after registering that he expects that between 10 and 12 members of the 2022 Assembly will be changed during the upcoming polls. Meanwhile, Musaed Al-Mane, a new candidate who registered from the fourth constituency, strongly lashed out at the health minister for imposing charges on expats for blood units, saying “even Dracula couldn’t think of this measure”. Mane said that both expats and citizens are donating blood for free and it is unacceptable to charge expats for blood. “This is total exploitation” he said.
With the 23 fresh candidates, the total number of hopefuls rose to 142 after six days of registration, way below the 290 candidates who registered after six days in the Sept 2022 elections. There were 10 former MPs among the new candidates who signed up on Wednesday, raising the total number of former MPs to 37. In addition, eight members of the scrapped house registered on Wednesday, bringing their number to 32.
In statements after registering to run in the third constituency, Saadoun issued a passionate appeal for Kuwaiti voters to turn out in large numbers, saying they should ignore problems and frustration to elect their representatives. “Your presence at the ballot boxes will determine your future,” said Saadoun, who refused to take questions from reporters. Saadoun has not made any comment on the court decision to annul the 2022 elections.
Former MP Saud Al-Mutairi said the upcoming elections will be “a bone-breaking battle and the Kuwaiti people will emerge victorious”. Former MP Abdullah Fahhad said Kuwait is witnessing a crucial phase and called for unity. He urged people to vote to control their future. Former MP Thamer Al-Suwait said a proposal will be submitted in the next Assembly to abolish the constitutional court and then establish a supreme court to settle major disputes.