KUWAIT: Opposition MPs stage a walkout during a parliament session at the National Assembly yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: About 11 opposition MPs walked out of a National Assembly session yesterday – the first regular meeting since the term opener on Oct 25 – when new Cabinet ministers began taking the oath to become members of the Assembly. The lawmakers were protesting against the government for taking no action towards the jailing of two opposition MPs – Jamaan Al-Harbash and Waleed Al-Tabtabaei – after they were convicted for storming the Assembly in Nov 2011. The lawmakers protested the fact that their colleagues were sent to jail although they still enjoyed parliamentary immunity.

MP Adel Al-Damkhi submitted a letter on behalf of the opposition MPs criticizing the inaction of the Assembly and the government over the jailing of the two lawmakers. Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghnem said he discussed the issue with the Assembly’s constitutional experts and it was decided to refer the letter to the legal and legislative committee.
Damkhi criticized the interior ministry for arresting the two MPs even though they are members of the Assembly. Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah said the ministry did not arrest Harbash or Tabtabaei, as they gave themselves up to police, while a third MP, Mohammad Al-Mutair, is still outside the country.

The Assembly then approved two motions to debate the US decision to transfer its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and national reconciliation. The first topic was debated, while the other was deferred until today. Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah briefed the Assembly about the measures Kuwait has taken against the US decision and the contacts made by the government. MPs who spoke praised HH the Amir and the government for the measures taken to support Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

By B Izzak