KUWAIT: In this file photo, Kuwait’s Health Ministry workers, wearing protective outfits, wait on the tarmac of the Kuwait international Airport to receive Kuwaitis returning from Frankfurt on March 26, 2020. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Ten opposition lawmakers yesterday submitted a motion demanding a special session of the National Assembly to approve a law calling for additional funds for frontline workers combating the coronavirus pandemic. The government had sent to the Assembly a draft law stipulating additional funds of KD 600 million to be added to the budget to grant financial rewards for frontline workers. The bill was approved in the first reading and sent to the budgets committee before taking the second and final vote.

The Budgets Committee said that the government had not replied to a series of questions sent by the committee and as a result it could not complete its report on the bill. As Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem on Tuesday adjourned Assembly sessions until after the fasting month of Ramadan due to disputes between the opposition and the government, the lawmakers submitted the motion to hold a special session and take the second vote on the bill, allowing the government to pay the money to beneficiaries.

Opposition MPs on Tuesday occupied seats that are reserved for Cabinet ministers, prompting the government to boycott the session. The attendance of at least one minister is necessary for the session to be legal. The opposition MPs were protesting against a decision to postpone the grilling of the Prime Minister until the end of 2022, saying that the decision is not in line with the constitution. They vowed not to allow the Assembly to hold sessions until the prime minister agrees to face the grilling without any further delay.

The liberal National Democratic Alliance yesterday blamed both the government and the National Assembly including the speaker, the prime minister and members of the two bodies, for the “unprecedented political turmoil” in the country. The Alliance said in a statement that the intensity of the disputes calls for the intervention of the political leadership and resolution of such disputes to achieve stability in the country.

The Kuwait Diwaniya Alliance, a group representing some Diwaniyas in the country, warned yesterday that political disputes between the government and the National Assembly have reached a flashpoint that does not serve the interests of Kuwait.