MP says Amir promises to resolve citizenship issue

Info minister asks for clarifications over grilling

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem and around 10 lawmakers yesterday met HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and discussed a number of current political issues, while the Amir promised he will resolve the issue of revoked citizenships soon. Ghanem said on his Twitter account that the meeting was fruitful and was held at the request of the lawmakers. He provided no further details.

But MP Mohammad Al-Huwailah said the revoked citizenships were among the issues discussed at the meeting and HH the Amir promised to resolve it soon. “We spoke with the Amir about the issue of the (revoked) citizenships and the people who were harmed. He promised a solution for this issue soon,” Huwailah said without elaborating. Among other MPs who were in the meeting were Nayef Al-Merdas, Khaled Al-Otaibi and Talal Al-Jallal.

Over two years ago, the government revoked the citizenship of several Kuwaiti opposition activists and their family members and relatives, making the total number several dozens. Those affected include former Islamist opposition MP Abdullah Al-Barghash and his brothers along with their families, owner of Al-Youm television channel and Alam Al-Youm newspaper Ahmad Jabr Al-Shimmari, Islamist preacher Nabeel Al-Awadhi and opposition activist Saad Al-Ajmi, who was deported to Saudi Arabia.

Their cases are being looked in courts, which have issued rulings favorable to the activists, but no final court verdict has been issued so far. The government has insisted that courts are not competent to look into citizenship issues because they are sovereign matters that must be handled by the state. But the good showing made by the opposition in the November parliamentary election reignited the citizenship issue, with direct threats by a large number of lawmakers to grill the prime minister and the interior minister. MPs are preparing for an overhaul of the citizenship law that would bar the government from revoking citizenships without a final court ruling.

In another development, Ghanem said yesterday he had received a letter from Information and Youth Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah asking for clarification over a number of points included in a grilling filed by MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei and Abdulwahab Al-Babtain.

The three lawmakers filed to grill the minister for failing to lift international sanctions on Kuwaiti sports and allegations of financial and administrative violations. The grilling is scheduled to be debated in the Assembly on Jan 31 and it could end in a no-confidence motion, which if passed, will mean an automatic dismissal of the minister.

Ghanem gave no details about the contents of the clarifications sought but parliamentary sources explained that the minister cast constitutional doubts over certain points in the grilling. He also demanded to know names of some assistant undersecretaries that were allegedly involved in violations.

Meanwhile, the constitutional court yesterday delayed its ruling on election petitions in the first, second and third constituencies until Feb 13 amid demands by defense lawyers for scrapping the National Assembly and calling for fresh elections. One lawyer said the results of the election as listed by the election authorities contained several “scandals”, adding there were 880 votes in a booth where only 500 voters are allowed to vote.

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