The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The new National Assembly begins its regular sessions of the new term today with an anticipated heated debate in which opposition MPs will demand a judiciary and parliamentary probe into events that took place at the inaugural session more than two weeks ago. Opposition MP Thamer Al-Suwait said MPs will demand to refer those who carried out the events of the “Black Tuesday” to the public prosecution for a criminal investigation.

They will also demand the formation of a parliamentary committee with a full mandate to investigate what happened at the inaugural session. Suwait also warned that he and other lawmakers will hold the prime minister to account, as he was a witness to the events.

Lawmakers opposed to the election of speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem claim that dozens of supporters of Ghanem, including his brother Khaled, were allowed into the assembly session illegally. The group caused an uproar during the election, insulting opposition MPs and stirring chaos in the gallery before the sitting temporary speaker evicted them.

MPs also claim that the assembly secretariat had leaked illegal ballot papers for the speaker election which raises the prospect of forgery. The assembly office has already formed its own investigation panel and asked lawmakers to provide it with evidence. However, opposition MPs called its formation a “farce” saying it includes members who are a party to the problem. MP Osama Al-Munawer said the formation of the panel is unprecedented and he and nine other MPs submitted a motion to cancel the committee and form a parliamentary investigation panel.

Human rights
In the meantime, the assembly’s human rights panel yesterday invited Interior Minister Sheikh Thamer Al-Sabah for a meeting this week to assess the human rights situation in the country, especially the case of a stateless man who committed suicide and the case of another stateless man who was brutally murdered by four citizens, including a serviceman.

MP Munawer also said he has submitted a proposal banning the government from granting aid to foreign countries without the prior consent of the National Assembly. MPs have charged the government of being generous to foreign governments while ignoring Kuwaiti citizens’ needs.

The assembly manpower development committee has sent a letter to the national assembly asking for permission to conduct a comprehensive study on the employment of citizens and the policy of replacing expats employed in the public sector with Kuwaitis. MP Hesham Al-Saleh asked authorities why Kuwait municipality appointed expat legal consultants while refusing to appoint citizens.