No need to rush judiciary independence law: MP

KUWAIT: MP Abdullah Al-Maayouf said yesterday that there was no need to rush the judiciary independence law and pass next week before sorting out differences over the draft law.

He said the bill concerns the judiciary as a whole and we should not rush approving it before the summer recess in order to avoid making legal or constitutional errors.

The lawmaker said that there are differences between the government and the supreme judicial council over a number of articles, adding that we want to ensure that the minister will have no authority over the judiciary or anyway to interfere in its affairs. The government, the National Assembly and the judicial council have been holding meetings in a bid to complete the draft law that would give the judiciary more independence and freedom to manage their administrative and financial affairs.

National Assembly Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem and Justice Minister Yacoub Al-Sane attended a meeting with other MPs and judges in a bid to finish the draft law and make it ready for the July 3 meeting, expected to be the final meeting of the assembly in this term. The assembly will start the next term in October.

MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah said yesterday that he believes the amendments to the election law are in line with the constitution and accordingly is not expected to be rejected and returned to the National Assembly by the government.

He said that the Prime Minister and all ministers present in the session last week voted for the amendments which bar those convicted in a final ruling of insulting the Almighty Allah, the prophets and HH the Amir from running in parliamentary elections.

The lawmaker also said that all constitutional experts in the National Assembly and the constitutional advisors of the legal and legislative committee said the amendments were constitutional. The law means that a large number of opposition figures, including prominent opposition leader and former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak, who have been convicted of insulting HH the Amir will not be able to run for office.

Barrak is serving his second year of a two-year term passed against him for publicly insulting HH the Amir and undermining his authority.

A large number of liberal, Islamist and national groups, mainly from the opposition, strongly condemned the amendments, saying it is an attempt to stifle democracy and freedom in the country. Some groups have appealed to HH the Amir to reject the law.

MP Kamel Al-Awadhi yesterday criticized Education and Higher Education Minister Bader Al-Issa for the low grades Kuwait University has obtained in a new educational evaluation. The lawmaker also asked the minister about the latest developments in the forged degrees case and how many people have been referred to the public prosecution in this connection. He also asked if any teachers at Kuwait University were charged of holding fake degrees in the past.

By B Izzak

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