Lawmakers urge PM not to postpone Assembly opening

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Prime Minister-designate HH Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah held on Monday talks with 10 opposition MPs, who urged him not to delay the opening session of the new National Assembly and select ministers who respect the constitution. It was Sheikh Ahmad’s first meetings with newly-elected MPs after his attempt to form a new Cabinet stumbled when the only elected MP in the Cabinet, Ammar Al-Ajmi, declined the post in protest against the inclusion of ministers whom he accused of not respecting the constitution.

MPs also informed the premier of their opposition to a decision to postpone the opening session of the newly-elected Assembly by one week until Oct 18, because this violates the constitution. The decision has triggered a constitutional controversy, with a majority of MPs, constitutional experts and lawyers insisting it violated the constitution, which stipulates that the new Assembly must meet within two weeks after announcing the results, MP Thamer Al-Suwait and others said on Twitter. Oct 18 is beyond the two weeks, as the results were announced on Sept 30.

MPs also called on the premier to work to secure a pardon for all political prisoners, some of whom have fled to other countries to avoid being sent to jail. MP Adel Al-Damkhi said the prime minister promised he will try to get the necessary pardon, which is issued only by HH the Amir. MP Mohammad Hayef said the meeting was positive and optimistic, adding cooperation between the Assembly and the government was discussed, besides many other issues.

He also said MPs called on the premier to pardon political prisoners, along with MP Marzouq Al-Khalifa and 28 others from his Shimmari tribe who were sentenced to jail. The court of cassation on Monday upheld a two-year jail term against Khalifa and the other men for taking part in outlawed tribal primary elections in the runup to the Dec 2020 elections. The verdict is final and Khalifa must serve the jail term, although he was re-elected to the Assembly on Sept 29, unless HH the Amir pardons him.


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