Court to rule on assembly seats next month

KUWAIT: The country may be sliding into a political crisis over the grilling of Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah as lawmakers said yesterday there are suspicions the grilling is unconstitutional as the speaker conveyed a message from the Amir that some are misusing constitutional tools.

The grilling, filed by leading opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, is on the agenda of tomorrow’s regular session for debate but pro-government MP Khalaf Dumaitheer said he will propose that the grilling be sent to the assembly’s legal and legislative committee to study whether its constitutional or not.

Khalil Al-Saleh, another pro-government lawmaker, said he has asked several constitutional experts and all of them said the grilling is not in line of the constitution.

But the most significant development came from assembly speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem who conveyed a message from the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah that some are misusing constitutional tools and the assembly must counter this.
Ghanem statement came following a meeting by the assembly office members with the Amir.

“The Amir has directed me to convey a message to the members of the house that some constitutional tools are being misused and it is the responsibility of lawmakers to confront this” Ghanem told reporters.

He said that the Amir also said he trusts the wisdom of lawmakers in confronting such practices. The speaker added that there is no time to inform every lawmaker of this message and therefore he decided to convey it through the media.
Ghanem however did not say what he intends to do to implement the Amir’s directives but other MPs openly said that the grilling is unconstitutional.

MP Dumaitheer said that the grilling should not have been filed against the prime minister because it deals with issues not relating to him directly and should have instead been field against the concerned minister.

The grilling was field following the flooding in the country due to heavy rains and accuses the prime minister of being responsible for the government failure to face the consequences of the rains.
Dumaintheer also said that there are some lawmakers who want the assembly to be dissolved and that “we will not allow them to do so”.

It is not clear what will happen during the grilling but it is possible that it might be sent to the legal committee for its opinion on the issue.

In another development, the constitutional court yesterday set December 19 to issue its verdict on a petition claiming that article 16 of the national assembly charter is unconstitutional.

The article was used by the assembly to keep the membership of opposition MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabai and Jamaan Al-Harbash despite being jailed by the court of cassation for entering the assembly building in November 2011.
If the court says the article is unconstitutional, it means that the two MPs will lose their seats in the assembly.

B Izzak