- Kuwait Times Extra
KUWAIT: Five lawmakers yesterday submitted a new draft electoral constituency law proposing five constituencies and a single vote for voters, apparently in a bid to offset any unwanted ruling by the constitutional court. MPs Maasouma Al-Mubarak, Safa Al-Hashem, Nabeel Al-Fadl, Kamel Al-Awadhi and Khalil Al-Saleh submitted the new draft law which is almost similar to the existing decree that caused the opposition to boycott the election, but only added a few new residential areas to certain constituencies.
The move came as the constitutional court prepares to begin hearing over 55 challenges against the Amiri decree which was issued ahead of the Dec 1 election and which reduced the number of candidates a voter can pick to just one from a maximum four in the previous law. The decree has not yet been approved by the new National Assembly as the constitution requires but it is almost certain it will be approved by a large majority.
But the problem lies with the rulings of the constitutional court, which is expected to issue its verdicts within a few months and it has not ruled out that the court may declare the Amiri decree unconstitutional, which would likely result in nullifying the election and scrapping the Assembly. The court is not however expected to scrap laws issued by the Assembly and any law passed amending the electoral law and the voting system before the court’s verdict may remain effective. The opposition had boycotted the election in protest against the single vote amendment, saying it will allow the government to manipulate the outcome of the election.
The opposition is still campaigning against the decree and against the Assembly, demanding that both should be scrapped. It is staging a new demonstration on Sunday. In another development, Islamist MP Khaled Al-Shulaimi said yesterday that 41 lawmakers have expressed their support for proposals to write off interest on bank loans of Kuwaiti citizens. Shulaimi did not say exactly which of the many proposals the lawmakers are backing, but a majority of the proposals stipulate that the government purchase billions of dinars of loans on Kuwaitis, waive all interest and then reschedule payment over several years in easy monthly installments. The government has repeatedly rejected such a scheme in the past and maintained it will reject any new solution, saying the debt relief fund the government had set up about two years ago is sufficient to tackle the cases of any defaulter.
By B Izzak, Kuwait Times Staff
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