KuwaitOther NewsPolitics

Court sets May 8 for expat driving ban case hearing

Acting speaker urges restraint over grillings

KUWAIT: The administrative court yesterday set May 8 to start hearing a case demanding a total ban on expatriates driving until the government has resolved the traffic problem on the country’s roads. The case was filed by lawyer Mohammad Al-Ansari on behalf of a number of Kuwaiti citizens, who charged that the government has failed to resolve traffic congestions on roads and asked the court to intervene to help solve the problem.

The lawyer demanded a total suspension of all driving licenses held by expatriates and also to stop giving new licenses to foreigners until a solution is found to the traffic problems. The lawyer and his clients are demanding to keep all expatriate drivers off the road to allow easy access to Kuwaiti motorists to go to work and return.

There have been calls by some Kuwaiti lawmakers to this effect. MP Safaa Al-Hashem, the sole female MP, has called for suspending licenses for expatriates for one year until a solution is found to the traffic problem. The calls have been described as racist by the independent Kuwait Society for Human Rights and a number of MPs. The court is not expected to accept the lawsuit, and if it does so, it will be challenged at the appeals and supreme courts to become final.

Meanwhile, acting speaker Essa Al-Kandari yesterday called for restraint in using grillings and urged MPs to resort to lesser constitutional tools in questioning ministers. He said that resorting to the grilling tool all the time is likely to weaken this important constitutional tool, and at the same time, fail to resolve problems facing citizens and could lead to straining relations between the Assembly and the government.

Kandari said citizens are fed up from the continued escalation of tensions between the executive and legislature authorities, adding that the constitution has made cooperation the basis of relations between the two bodies ahead of confrontations. Kandari’s call comes a day after two opposition lawmakers filed a motion to grill the prime minister, the second grilling in the past few days.

The first grilling was filed last week by three opposition lawmakers. The two motions will be discussed on April 25 and a date for their debate is expected to be set. The two grillings accuse the prime minister of failing to check rampant corruption and for reducing public subsidies and raising prices of public services and commodities in order to finance the budget deficit resulting from low oil income. Opposition MPs have also threatened to file other motions to grill several ministers amid a looming political crisis in the country less than six months from the snap polls in which the opposition won half of the 50 seats.

In a related development, MP Saleh Ashour said that the prime minister must face the two grillings in public and rejected any attempts to delay them.

By B Izzak

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