KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday renamed outgoing Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to form the next Cabinet. The decision came after the Amir held consultations with former speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem and former prime minister HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, in addition to Sheikh Jaber himself. Former three-time speaker and opposition leader Ahmad Al-Saadoun was not present at the consultations.
Sheikh Jaber was first appointed to the post in late 2011 after the resignation of Sheikh Nasser. He has to form the new Cabinet before Dec 11 when the National Assembly is scheduled to hold its first meeting. Newly-elected MPs have called on the prime minister to carefully read the outcome of the general polls, in which the opposition won almost half of the 50 seats.
Meanwhile, opposition MPs held their first coordination meeting hosted by veteran opposition MP Mohammad Al-Mutair. The meeting was attended by 25 lawmakers and two more who could not attend said they support its decisions. Mutair said the meeting discussed at length the issue of electing the speaker, as three opposition MPs have said they will contest. Mutair said he decided to withdraw from the race in favor of MPs Abdullah Al-Roumi and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri. A four-MP committee was also formed to study the cases of Roumi and Muwaizri in order to try and help select one of the two.
Their next meeting will be held on Saturday with the aim to resolve the speakership issue and come up with one candidate to face off with Ghanem, who is expected to run. Several lawmakers have openly called for electing a new speaker to replace Ghanem. MP Yousef Al-Fadhalah, who did not attend the opposition meeting, called on his Twitter account on the government to refrain from voting in the election of the speaker and other posts in the Assembly, including panels.
MP Mohamamd Al-Huwailah also said the present political situation requires the election of a new speaker for the new Assembly. Mutair said the meeting also discussed how to tackle the most urgent issues of revocation of citizenships and scrapping laws passed by the previous Assembly, which curb public freedoms. The meeting agreed to prepare a roadmap for dealing with the legislative requirements in the new Assembly. They agreed the need to amend the voting system, prohibit withdrawal of citizenships without a court ruling and propose economic reforms and measures that do not add any burden on citizens.
Newly-elected Islamist opposition MP Abdullah Fahhad said two messages have already been sent to the government – one by the ballot boxes and the second by the opposition MPs’ meeting yesterday. He said the government must understand these messages. MP Hamdan Al-Azemi said the threat to dissolve the Assembly no longer scares opposition MPs. He said he expects the new Assembly to be dissolved and fresh elections in Jan 2018. New MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl, the son of late pro-government MP Nabil Al-Fadhl, strongly criticized the opposition lawmakers’ meeting, saying such meetings divide the Assembly.
By B Izzak