The National Assembly

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday the Assembly will debate the constitutional court’s verdict and the report on the grilling of the prime minister on Jan 8 and not tomorrow because the issues have not yet been finalized. Ghanem told reporters that the Assembly received a copy of the constitutional court ruling declaring article 16 of the internal charter unconstitutional and the Assembly office yesterday discussed the issue.

He said that the office decided to wait until the court issues its final verdict on this issue on Dec 26 and then discuss all the verdicts together. He added that the legal and legislative committee has not yet completed its report on whether a grilling against the prime minister is in line with the constitution or not. Ghanem also said that the financial and economic affairs committee has not completed amendments to the early retirement law, and accordingly it will be delayed until Jan 8.

The constitutional court last week ruled that article 16 of the Assembly’s internal charter is unconstitutional, which means it has to be replaced. The Assembly in October depended on the article to retain the memberships of MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Jamaan Al-Harbash after they were sentenced to jail in a final ruling by the court of cassation. The court said that the Assembly’s vote on the issue infringed on the authority of the judiciary and the court itself.

Seven lawmakers met to discuss the issue yesterday and to call for delaying any debate on the issue or delaying taking any measure as a result of the ruling. Islamist opposition MP Mohammad Al-Dallal yesterday called on the Assembly to take its time before adopting any decision or action on the constitutional court ruling, saying the verdict has created a constitutional vacuum. He said the court has surpassed its powers and has taken some of the Assembly’s powers through this ruling, which he said was issued in a rush.

Dallal said that based on the ruling, the Assembly is obliged to consider the membership of any MP as illegal if they receive any ruling in a criminal case. But MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl charged that some quarters are taking the Assembly into uncharted waters by trying to provide strange interpretations of the ruling and called for applying it quickly.

MP Saleh Ashour meanwhile threatened yesterday to grill Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh over not receiving proper answers to his questions from her and other ministers. Ashour said he grilled Sabeeh in May over her decision to dissolve a Shiite society of which he is the chairman. After the grilling, which the minister survived, Ashour said he sent questions on the issue to Sabeeh and several other ministers. He said he did not receive answers from other ministers and an incomplete reply from Sabeeh. He said he will grill Sabeeh if he does not get the answers.

By B Izzak