Kuwaiti Parliament Pushing To Legalize Political Parties

Article Summary
Al-Khaleej reports that Kuwait’s parliamentary majority is taking its first step toward radical change by discussing a bill on political “groupings,” a distinction that serves as an alternative to legalizing political parties. The majority has informed the prime minister and his ministers to expect interrogation.

Kuwait’s parliamentary majority is taking its first step toward radical change. On June 10, the parliamentary legislative committee has discussed a bill on political “groupings,” a distinction that serves as an alternative option to legalizing political parties. This serves as a prelude to the parliamentary vote on the latter bill, as well as another bill which proposes to turn Kuwait City into a constituency before the current parliamentary session adjourns. The majority has informed the prime minister that his ministers will be subjected to successive interrogations.

Informed sources told Al-Khaleej that a top official has completely rejected any attempt to change the current structure or identity of the government or its system. Sources confirmed that any attempt to amend the constitution will fail, just like the efforts made to amend Article 79 of that document.

The sources also mentioned that any law passed by the parliament which disturbs social security or harms national principles will be annulled. This is what happened with the law increasing the punishment for those who offend the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his wives: it was annulled because of religious and sectarian differences on the matter. The sources added that acts intended to harm national unity or drag the country into unknown territory will not be tolerated.

The sources said that no constitutional amendment is required to appoint a prime minister from the general public, since the constitution does not stipulate that the prime minister should be from the ruling family. However, there have been constitutional norms which caused the prime minister to continuously be selected from the ruling family. Previously, it was the norm for the crown prince to become the prime minister, but this ended in 2006 when the two posts were separated. In any case, selecting the prime minister is the indisputable right of the Emir of Kuwait. The sources added that passing a law on political gatherings as a preliminary step to legalizing political parties is considered to be a step into “the unknown.”

The sources stated that it is still early to talk about a cabinet reshuffle, indicating that the leadership is taking calculated steps before choosing a new finance minister to replace Moustafa al-Shamali. The leadership is also awaiting the outcome of the questioning of the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Ahmad al-Rajeeb, before reshuffling the cabinet. This is merely to benefit the public interest, and not a response to ongoing pressure. According to the sources, the leadership called upon MPs to cooperate with the executive authority in order to achieve this goal.

On another note, parliamentary sources have said that Shoaib Alamuezari, the housing minister and state minister of national assembly, told Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak on behalf of the parliamentary majority that “the government should resign and should be formed again in cooperation with the majority. If that does not occur, then the ministers will be subjected to continuous questioning.”

The sources further stated that one political bloc is pushing for a cooperative initiative between the two authorities by “conducting a comprehensive cabinet reshuffle, which will dismiss the six unwanted ministers. This will be followed by appointing replacements who represent the majority political blocs, whether they are MPs or candidates from outside the parliament. This will put an end to the interrogations and start a cooperative spirit between the two authorities.”

The sources concluded that “extensive meetings are currently being held between the different blocs and MPs to develop the initiative and submit it to the government. In the end, the government will take a position on the initiative, which the majority will use in the future.”

This week, the majority will discuss the interrogation being prepared by MP Khaled Shakheer against Sheikh Ahmad Khalid, deputy prime minister and defense minister, and they will set the date for it. The majority will also discuss the preparations for the questionings proposed by MPs Al-Sayfi Mubarak al-Sayfi and Riyad al-Adasani against Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Ahmad al-Rajeeb.

Found in: political groupings, parlimentary majority, islamists, government reshuffle, bill, kuwait

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