By B Izzak
KUWAIT: National Assembly guards were yesterday ordered to enter the chamber to prevent possible clashes between lawmakers as political drama continued in the National Assembly forcing Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem to adjourn yet another session. Almost all opposition MPs went up to the podium to prevent taking a vote ordered by the Speaker on a motion regarding a decision to suspend grillings against the Prime Minister until the end of 2022.
As the Assembly secretary general began taking the votes, opposition MPs went to the podium to stop him saying the motion is illegal and should not continue. The Speaker then called the guards to protect the secretary general who continued taking the votes. Despite heated protests by the opposition, Ghanem said the voting was completed and that 33 MPs voted for the motion and the rest were considered as having objected because they refused to vote. The trouble began as the Assembly started to debate grillings. Ghanem asked MPs to proceed with the grilling against the health minister but the opposition objected saying there are three grillings against the Prime Minister before that.
The Speaker however told MPs that two weeks ago the Assembly decided to suspend grillings against the premier for 18 months. Opposition MPs insisted that the decision was illegal and should be considered null and void. He then ordered voting on a resolution stating that the decision was illegal but the opposition MPs said the resolution itself is illegal. Ghanem at this point adjourned the session for the day. During the session, opposition MPs demanded that the Speaker should add to the agenda a motion that calls on his dismissal from the speaker post for violating the constitution and other laws.
Justice Minister Abdullah Al-Roumi insisted that the motion breaches the constitution which clearly states that the speaker’s duration is for four years and there are no clauses for his removal. Ghanem then asked the Assembly to vote on whether to add the motion to the agenda and 32 MPs rejected against 28 who approved it. Opposition MP Saleh Al-Mutairi said that opposition MPs will re-submit the motion to dismiss the Speaker for breaching the constitution.
MPs were engaged in tense exchanges over what happened in the previous session which was boycotted by over 30 opposition MPs to prevent the new Cabinet from taking the oath. But the session was held and the Assembly passed a decision to stop grillings against the Prime Minister for over 18 months. Opposition MPs said the decision was not taken in accordance with legal procedures and as a result should be considered null and void.