KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Ghadeer Aseeri (left) and MP Safa Al-Hashem gesture during a session at the National Assembly yesterday. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Ten opposition lawmakers yesterday filed a no-confidence motion against Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Ghadeer Aseeri following a short grilling debate in which the minister denied she violated the constitution. Meanwhile, the Assembly is expected to ratify the new neutral zone pact signed with Saudi Arabia last month in the divided zone after the foreign relations committee approved the agreement. The pact has confirmed Saudi and Kuwaiti rights and resources in the neutral zone, where oil production is divided equally between the two countries. The pact was signed following over four years of negotiations.

Before the debate started, Aseeri charged that the grilling included some unconstitutional material, but she still decided to face it to clarify her position. The grilling debate of Aseeri was one of the shortest to be witnessed by the Assembly, after MP Adel Al-Damkhi accused the minister of violating the constitution and undermining lawmakers and their voter bases.

Damkhi charged that the minister committed an act of defamation against MPs through a statement she made and later denied she made the statement. He said the minister accused MPs of circulating rumors to appease their voters, which constitutes defamation against the lawmakers and their voters. He said the inclusion of Aseeri in the Cabinet was wrong from the start because she had made comments against a Gulf country and against the Gulf’s Peninsula Force, adding that the minister lost credibility after denying statements she was proven to have made.

Damkhi also charged the minister of having said years before her appointment that the government was corrupt, against freedom and “purchased lawmakers through services”. He said that the government had in the past scrapped the appointment of two undersecretaries over tweets they wrote that were deemed inappropriate. He also showed a short video showing Aseeri talking about the presence of bars in Dubai and the possibility of Kuwait allowing bars under strict laws and regulations. The lawmaker said the minister had made clear positions in the past against the hijab and political Islam.

Aseeri said the timing of the grilling and its unclear language raise some question marks about its goals, adding that the grilling is questioning her about statements she might or might not have made in the past. She strongly denied allegations that she had violated the constitution, adding that the grilling was based on the police state mentality that “the defendant is guilty until proven innocent”.

The lawmakers who signed the no-confidence motion include Riyadh Al-Adasani, Abdulkarim Al-Kandari, Abdullah Al-Kandari, Abdullah Fahhad, Mohammad Hayef, Khaled Al-Otaibi, Mohammad Al-Mutair, Nayef Al-Merdas, Abdulwahab Al-Babtain and Thamer Al-Suwait. Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said the voting on the grilling will take place on Feb 4.