Court to decide ‘fate’ of National Assembly

MP Harbash threatens to grill Sabeeh

KUWAIT: The Constitutional Court whose rulings are final and cannot be challenged is scheduled to issue verdicts today that will decide whether the National Assembly will continue or not. The court, presided by the head of the higher judicial council Yousef Al-Matawa, is scheduled to issue rulings on a total of 52 petitions all dealing with the results of the November 26 parliamentary elections.

Five of the petitions are demanding that the elections be declared illegal which means that the National Assembly will be scrapped and fresh election will be held within the next two months. This case happened twice in 2012 when the same court prematurely ended the life of two parliaments over procedural flaws that prompted the court to declare the election null and void. The remaining constitutional petitions also deal with the results of the elections demanding recounting the votes and nullifying election in two constituencies.

The first petition challenges that the decree dissolving the previous Assembly is flawed and should be declared unconstitutional. In this case, the previous National Assembly will be re-instated and the current Assembly will be dissolved. Election will be called after the previous Assembly comes back to serve the remainder of its term, around one year. The second petition challenges that the decree inviting voters for the election is flawed because it was issued by an illegal government which had no representatives from the National Assembly. In this case, the National Assembly will be scrapped and fresh election called.

The third petition says that the election process was illegal because the Interior Minister did not issue the required decision to determine the ballot papers. This would mean scrapping the Assembly and calling for fresh polls. According to legal experts, the three petitions will most likely be rejected and the current Assembly will continue. But nothing can be ruled out. Other petitions deal with smaller issues like disputing the counting of votes, decisions of the election committee and others.
In the meantime, Islamist opposition MP Jamaan Al-Harbash yesterday warned that he will grill the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Economic Development Hind Al-Sabeeh over violations and government plans to privatize a number of mega projects. Harbash said that there are signs indicating that the government plans to privatize the recently completed Jaber Hospital to the private sector by giving a sizeable share to a strategic investor. He said the same applies to Kuwait Airport, Shadadiya University and Mubarak Al-Kabeer Harbour on Boubiyan Island, all of which are under construction.

By B Izzak

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