Top court bars Sheikh Malek, Hashem, Dahoum, 18 others

Constitutional court to assess election petition today

KUWAIT: People attend a campaign meeting of Islamist candidate and former MP Mohammed Al-Mutair on Sunday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: People attend a campaign meeting of Islamist candidate and former MP Mohammed Al-Mutair on Sunday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The court of cassation yesterday ruled to prevent 21 candidates – including a number of former MPs – from contesting Saturday’s snap polls, which means that all these candidates will not be able to participate in the elections. Prominent among those barred are former MP Safa Al-Hashem and former opposition MP Bader Al-Dahoum. They also include the only ruling family member in the race -Sheikh Malek Al-Humoud Al-Sabah – and former controversial MP Mohammad Juwaihel.

All the 21 were among 47 candidates barred by the election committee for either being previously convicted in courts or failing to complete registration procedures. The cassation court suspended rulings by the appeals court in favor of 10 candidates, including Hashem and Dahoum, to reinstate them in the election race, which means that now they will not be able to compete.

The court also rejected the petitions of 11 other candidates who demanded that the appeals court rulings preventing them from running be turned down. The candidates now have no legal recourse to challenge the cassation court, whose rulings are final. But at least 10 candidates still have some hope left. The court only suspended the appeals court rulings preventing them from running in the polls, but will issue verdicts regarding their appeals at a later date, after the elections. These verdicts could be in favor of some of the candidates, who can then demand elections to be held in their respective constituencies, although this has a very slim chance to happen.

In another development, the constitutional court will today assess the credibility of a petition submitted on Sunday by lawyer-candidate Hani Hussein calling for the Assembly election to be called off. Hussein, who has already been barred by the cassation court from running in polls, claimed that the Amiri decree that dissolved the National Assembly last month was not in line with the constitution. He demanded that the court rules the decree unconstitutional, calls off the election and reinstates the previous Assembly.

The court today will decide whether the petition is serious enough to be accepted for deliberation or simply reject it outright for being not credible to initiate a case. Its rejection means that the case is thrown out. Hussein had vowed to hold an election rally to explain the reasons for his petition. Meanwhile, speaker of the dissolved Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem will hold an election rally for the first time tonight to explain “all the facts”. Ghanem has come under fire by opposition candidates, who accuse him of collaborating with the government against the interests of the people.

By B Izzak

This article was published on 21/11/2016