MP Muwaizri says he will contest for speaker post

Opposition factions in search for common ground unity

MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri

MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri

KUWAIT: Opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri who said during the election campaign he will contest the national assembly speaker post, said yesterday that he will not withdraw from the race. Muwaizri’s statements on his Twitter account appear to be in response to calls by opposition figures that opposition MPs must field one candidate for the post to boost their chances of winning it against an expected tough competition from the outgoing speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem.

The lawmaker, who returned to the assembly after Saturday’s election, said that he will continue to be in the race and that he has no plans to withdraw. Three leading opposition MPs are expected to contest the post – Abdullah Al-Roumi, Mohammad Al-Mutair and Muwaizri.

Roumi, a veteran MP and former deputy speaker, has been campaigning to boost his chances by visiting MPs who were elected on Saturday. Mutair however said yesterday that he believes that the opposition should field only one candidate in the race to increase their chances of winning it.

A large number of candidates have vowed during the election campaign that they will not vote for Ghanem and many of them have won seats in the assembly. The government strength in the 16 votes remains the decisive factor in the race. As of now, it is certain that the candidate supported by the government is highly tipped to win.
But the government may be forced to vote for an opposition candidate or allow ministers a free voting if it wants to establish good relations with the opposition MPs who now represent nearly half of the 50-seat assembly.

Common ground
In the meantime, the various opposition factions appear to be searching for a common ground for unity to forge its agenda. Leading Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaie said the opposition is trying to create coordination between a group of 25 MPs, adding it will not become a united bloc like in the 2012 national assembly.

Tabtabaie expected the formation of a number of parliamentary blocs which will establish coordination among themselves, adding he and his colleagues will support any move that serves the interest of people.

He said that a large number of reformist MPs has been elected and the number would have been far bigger but for the single-vote voting system. He said their main priorities will be to amend the single-vote electoral system, scrapping the political exclusion and the DNA testing laws and also issuing laws to ensure the independence of judiciary and closely monitor public funds.

Islamist MP Abdullah Fahhad said the opposition will extend a hand of cooperation for the government and if it does not accept it, there will be a popular anger in the assembly chamber. Meanwhile, newly-elected independent MP Yousef Al-Fadhalah called yesterday for changing the prime minister, saying he has proved that he is incapable of running the government affairs. He said the selection of the prime minister and ministers must be based on competence, and hoped there will be new blood in the cabinet capable of ending legislative and executive chaos in the country.

By B Izzak

This article was published on 29/11/2016