Opposition raises stakes
KUWAIT: The constitutional court yesterday threw out a petition calling to call off the Nov 26 parliamentary election because the Amiri decree dissolving the National Assembly last month was not in line with the constitution. The rejection came after a meeting of the court’s consultants’ panel, which studies constitutional petitions to see if they are credible to go to the judges or should be thrown out without debate.
The petition was submitted by lawyer-candidate Hani Hussein, who was barred from running in the polls by the election committee for being previously convicted by courts. The committee’s decision was upheld by the courts. The constitutional court said that the law allows people to directly file petitions at the constitutional court against laws and legislations, but not against Amiri decrees. It added that since Hussein’s petition deals with an Amiri decree, it cannot be debated by the constitutional court. Commenting on the decision, Hussein said on his Twitter account that he plans to resubmit the petition after the election to challenge the election process and results.
In a related development, the decision by the cassation court to bar 21 candidates from election was criticized by a number of top legal experts, who said the court should have allowed the candidates to run in the polls while it discussed their cases. The only hope for the candidates who include former MPs Safa Al-Hashem and Bader Al-Dahoum and the only ruling family member in the race, Sheikh Malek Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, is for the court to study the subject of their cases before the election on Saturday. A number of legal experts said that if some of the barred candidates win the cases in the cassation court, the election process could be repeated or they can demand huge compensations from the government.
Meanwhile, opposition candidates raised the stakes during their final election rallies in the past few days ahead of the weekend polls by calling for fundamental changes including changing the prime minister. Leading opposition figure and former Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said the opposition is demanding a “new government, a new strategy and a new prime minister”.
Speaking at his election rally, Tabtabaei said that the capabilities of the present Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah “are below the ambitions of the Kuwaiti people”. “We call on HH the Amir to select the most competent person among the ruling family or from the Kuwaiti people,” Tabtabaei said. The call was supported by several opposition figures including former Islamist MP Jamaan Al-Harbash, who said “we will demand a new prime minister if we get elected”.
Candidate Al-Humaidi Al-Subaie charged the government on Monday of using the revocation of citizenships as a weapon against its opponents. Former MP Ahmad Al-Qudhaibi charged the government at an election rally of protecting corruption and the corrupt, adding that the Kuwaiti people are paying the cost of the internal feuds within members of the ruling family. He said the effects of these internal disputes have negatively impacted the functioning of the legislative and judicial authorities, and also the government.
Former MP Mohammad Al-Mutair said Kuwait passed through a very difficult phase in the past five years, adding that Kuwait used to be an example for democracy in the past but things have changed and forces of corruption have started to negatively influence it. He said that thefts and graft in the country are being committed in broad daylight and the previous Assembly was deeply involved in corruption.
By B Izzak