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‘Green’ candidate calls to legalize alcohol, gambling

Waleed Al-Nasser

Waleed Al-Nasser

KUWAIT: A candidate who registered yesterday to run for one of the five seats in next month's by-elections surprised the election department by announcing he will work to legalize the sale of liquor in Kuwait and allow gambling. Wearing an untraditional green bisht, Waleed Al-Nasser said that Kuwait's beaches should be turned into "open resorts" where liquor, which is totally prohibited in Kuwait, should be allowed, "but only for a few people and tourists".

"Beaches until Messila should be open, while from there down south, we should have 'Islamic' resorts," Nasser, speaking rapidly and not in full control of himself, told astonished reporters after filing his nomination papers to run from the tribal fourth constituency. Asked why he was wearing a green bisht, which is not used at all in Kuwait, Nasser said it was in commemoration of a religious figure known as the 'Green Man' who happens to be his forefather. The candidate said he will focus on achieving people's demands and economic development, which is lagging behind.

Another candidate had grabbed headlines a day earlier by turning up to register in heavy winter clothing. Mohammad Al-Masri registered to run from the third constituency and paid the registration fee in loose change, but fell short by 250 fils, which was paid by an official. He also refused to sign the registration document, preferring to furnish his thumbprints using an inkpad he brought in a plastic bag.

Besides Nasser, 12 other candidates filed their papers yesterday, raising the number of hopefuls to 65 on the sixth day of registration, which will end on Thursday. The by-election will be held on June 26 to fill the five seats that fell vacant after five MPs resigned after the Assembly rejected a request to grill the prime minister.

In another development, the administrative court ruled yesterday that it was not competent to issue a verdict to stop the Kuwaiti government from providing Egypt with a package aid of $4 billion. Kuwaiti courts are not authorized by the law to rule on matters known as sovereign issues. The case was filed by Kuwaiti lawyer Abdullah Al-Kandari who claimed that the government has no right to squander public funds and demanded that the court should immediately order the government to stop providing the aid.

The aid was part of billions of dollars in aid rushed by Gulf countries to Egypt following last year's military coup in which the elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown. The lawyer also said in lawsuit that the government's aid violates the Kuwaiti constitution. The court of cassation meanwhile postponed its ruling against opposition tweeter Hejab Al-Hajeri who is accused of undermining the authorities of HH the Amir in tweets he posted on his account.

In another development, online reports said that Education Minister Ahmad Al-Mulaifi has tendered his resignation and it was expected that the Cabinet will accept it today. Mulaifi declared his intention to resign last week following an accident at Kuwait University's Shaddadiya project site, which killed two construction workers. If accepted, Mulaifi will be the second minister to quit from the Cabinet which was formed in August last year but underwent a massive reshuffle in January. Earlier this month, Islamic affairs minister Nayef Al-Ajmi resigned.

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This article was published on 25/05/2014