Political Turmoil in Kuwait as Protests Continue

Article Summary
The recent protests in Kuwait over the country’s parliamentary structure have added to the political turmoil, as the opposition has sought to internationalize the issue, writes Al-Husseiny Alijlaty.

A march dubbed "Dignity of the Homeland 7" was held in Kuwait last night [Jan. 22]. Former deputies and political activists said that popular movements would continue until the one-vote parliament is overthrown.

The Constitutional Court postponed 17 electoral appeals for the Feb. 19 hearing. In addition, parliament referred a number of laws and decrees to the government.

Former Member of Parliament Musallam al-Barrak denied that the opposition had reconciled with the government. He said, "If the government wants reconciliation, it must first reconcile itself with the constitution and apologize for violating it."

Former deputies and political activists said that popular movements would continue until the one-vote parliament is overthrown. They defended resorting to internationalizing their issue. At a press conference held in the office of Ahmed Sadoun, the former speaker of parliament, they said that popular movements would escalate in the coming days.

Sadoun said, “Our legal team is in charge of following up on all the issues. We will not merely object to measures taken by legal apparatuses that violate the Kuwaiti constitution, regardless of which official issues such orders.”

He added: “I say to those who were surprised at our internationalization of the issue that the issue had been internationalized all along, since it is related to human rights and freedoms.” He stressed that the opposition "will not only condemn the arrests and assaults against youths, but will legally pursue those who take such actions. We shall persist, and the government must take responsibility and stop such actions.”

Mubarak Wallan, a former member of parliament, said, “We only resorted to our right to address the issue with human-rights organizations as a final option.”

In its regular meeting yesterday, parliament referred a decree on residential care and permitting the private sector to execute constructions on state land to the government.

Parliament voted on reports by the Foreign Committee regarding 14 out of 17 international agreements that had been postponed in the previous session after allegations that they undermine the constitution and rights. During the session, the commission requested the withdrawal of three reports relating to agreements on corruption, money laundering and organized crime.

The parliament also referred a legislative decree approving a settlement agreement with Iraq on compensation to Kuwait Airways, in addition to a bill on issuing the annual plan for 2011-2012.

Sheikh Salman Hamoud, the information minister and state minister for youth affairs, stressed during the session the government's keenness to guarantee and support media freedoms, and applying the law against violators.

Sheikh Mohammad al-Abdullah, minister of state for cabinet affairs and state minister for municipal affairs, said that the emir’s decree, which pardons media personalities, does not include tweeters, state security cases or cases that were registered from February 2011 until today.

The Constitutional Court postponed 17 electoral appeals in the fifth constituency of the parliamentary elections till the Feb. 19 hearing.

The court also decided to postpone another appeal until the Feb. 3 session and attach it to a related appeal in the first constituency. The court's decision included a request to the Supreme National Electoral Commission to provide the court with the statement provided in the session minutes.

Found in: kuwait parliament, al-barrak, protests, kuwaiti politics, kuwait elections, kuwait, elections

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