KUWAIT: MPs engage in heated arguments during the National Assembly session yesterday.-Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The National Assembly session was again halted prematurely yesterday as MPs traded insults and accusations over allegations of unconstitutional decisions passed by the house. Opposition MPs accused Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem of following unconstitutional procedures to secure the passage of a decision that delays grillings against the prime minister for over 18 months.

MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari asked the speaker why he took the vote on the decision in Tuesday’s session although MPs who submitted the motion demanded to withdraw it. MP Thamer Al-Suwait protested against the speaker for calling Assembly guards into the chamber, saying this has never happened anywhere in the world.

Ghanem insisted that all procedures regarding the voting on Tuesday were in line with the constitution and this means that grillings against HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah will be postponed until the end of 2022. He said Assembly guards were called in after the secretary general of the Assembly was assaulted by some MPs.

Speaking after the session, Ghanem accused what he called a “minority” of lawmakers of deliberately stirring crises in every session in an “attempt to cause the dissolution of the National Assembly” adding that the political leadership is aware of this fact. The speaker said that what has been happening at the National Assembly are “things rejected by the Kuwaiti people” because they are unconstitutional.

He appealed to the lawmakers “not to burn this country” and charged that “funds are being channeled to the social media in an attempt to create a false public opinion”. Like previous sessions, yesterday’s Assembly meeting was marred by heated arguments and strong exchanges between opposition MPs on one hand and the speaker and pro-government MPs on the other. The speaker ignored protests by opposition MPs for delaying the premier’s grillings and the situation became extremely tense when the speaker moved to the next point on the agenda – the grilling of the health minister over his alleged mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Minister Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah requested the debate of his grilling to be postponed for two weeks, and as Ghanem ordered voting on the request, opposition MPs left their seats and assembled on the floor, screaming at the speaker. Voting was nevertheless completed and the request was granted as many opposition MPs refused to vote. Some opposition MPs went up to the podium to prevent the speaker from continuing the session.

Ghanem accused leading opposition MP Mohammad Al-Mutair of trying to disrupt the session, claiming he received his orders from “outside”. Some MPs were about to be engaged in a physical altercation, but were prevented by other lawmakers. Then, around 27 opposition MPs left the session.

Former three-time Assembly speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun said on Twitter that the grillings against the prime minister are still standing and valid because the decision to suspend them was illegal. Most of the ongoing political crises are the result of a verdict last month by the constitutional court to declare the election of prominent opposition lawmaker Bader Al-Dahoum as null and void. The interior ministry said it will start today registering candidates who wish to contest for Dahoum’s vacant seat, after setting May 20 as the date for the by-election.