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Thursday , February 9 2023

Call to a covenant … Let’s get to work

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PM VOWS TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT, FIGHT CORRUPTION

PARLIAMENT ELECTS AHMAD AL-SAADOUN AS SPEAKER, MP AL-MUTAIR AS DEPUTY

HH the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmed opening Parliament’s 17th legislative term. Inset: The Deputy Amir waving to the crowd

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 18: His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Tuesday inaugurated the newly-elected National Assemby on behalf of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah. The opening session of the 17th parliamentary term started with the recitation of Holy Quran verses, followed by the speech of His Highness the Crown Prince who conveyed the message of His Highness the Amir.

Ahmed Al-Jarallah, Editor-in-Chief of the Arab Times seated in the public gallery with other invited guests

His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince, addressing the first session of the 17th legislative term of the National Assembly, said his speech was a covenant of a new era and constitutes guidelines for performing State tasks. “His Highness the Amir’s speech on 22/06/2022 was the new era speech and today’s address is the new era covenant; it sets the guidelines from the political leadership to the nationals regarding the fashion of work in the coming stage,” said His Highness the Deputy Amir and the Crown Prince in his address at the seaside Abdullah Al-Salem Hall in Kuwait City center.

MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun being surrounded by some other MPs after he was elected by acclamation as the new Speaker

HH the Crown Prince expressed satisfaction over the “blessed steps that have been so far taken, including the successful parliamentary elections which served the interests of the nation.” He also conveyed the congratulatory message of His Highness the Amir to the MPs and ministers, while wishing the best for citizens. He affirmed that the Amiri Speech delivered on June 22, 2022 marked the beginning of new era. He considers it the ‘document of commitment’, which included Amiri directives on the course of action in the coming period. He thanked the concerned institutions, civilian and military workers and volunteers for the efforts they exerted to ensure fair and transparent elections after removing the violations. He asserted this led to the election of the best lawmakers.

Addressing the citizens, His Highness the Crown Prince said they completed the task of electing their representatives. He was quick to add though that citizens must monitor their representatives and question them in case they deviate from the proper democratic course. He pointed out the political leadership also fulfilled its commitment as per the Amiri speech on June 22, which was based on Article 106 of the Constitution: “The Amir may, by a decree, adjourn the meeting of the National Assembly for a period not exceeding one month. Adjournment may be repeated during the same session with the consent of the Assembly and then only once. A period of adjournment is not counted in computing the duration of the session.”

He affirmed the new government will adopt an unprecedented position — not to participate in the election of the Assembly speaker, deputy speaker or members of parliamentary committees; such that only the legislature takes this decision. He then addressed the executive and legislative authorities, stressing it is now their turn to shoulder their responsibilities; that is, after the people completed the task of choosing their representatives.

Avoid
He instructed the MPs to avoid disrupting parliament work; pointing out that in the past, some MPs were deliberately absent from the meetings of parliamentary committees. He urged the legislative authority to refrain from setting priorities according to the whims of those who violate the law to serve sectarian or personal interests, rather than that of the public. He hopes the executive authority will complement the monitoring and legislative role of the Assembly in the interest of citizens.

He added the executive authority should not stand against the bills and legislation concerning the security of the nation and interests of citizens, as this might push the legislature to deviate from the right path. He instructed the executive authority to remain in close contact with the citizens in order to determine their problems and relieve their suffering. He also asked the government to present a strategic plan to attain good governance. He warned that the government will be questioned in case it does not implement such a plan, affirming he will personally follow up the execution of the governmental program. He urged the government to adopt a policy on two initiatives — ‘mystery citizen’ who will process his transactions in State institutions and record his observations to report any employee who does not do his job properly, and the whistleblower.

He emphasized the importance of setting regulations in this regard to prevent misusage of this policy in the form of making malicious reports. He underscored the need to end the stressful era, and usher in a new era of cooperation and respect for the Constitution; especially since time, efforts and money have been wasted. He said the executive and legislative authorities must tap the potentials of youths and provide privileges to retirees who served the nation, as it is now their turn to obtain the best services. He asked the official media to conduct symposiums to follow up and discuss the progress of the two authorities in order to better serve the citizens who are the real owners of this media. He stated this media must inform citizens about the achievements and shortcomings, so the achievers are rewarded while the non-achievers are held accountable. He stressed the need to maintain national unity, avoid disputes and adopt a wise position in order to overcome the regional and international challenges. He called on everyone to respect the authorities granted to His Highness the Amir as per the Constitution.

He then voiced optimism about the future of the nation — a bright future free of loyalty to the sect, class or tribe as loyalty is solely for the nation. He affirmed that he will closely and carefully follow up the performance of both authorities, such that the hardworking is rewarded and the negligent is punished. Meanwhile, the oldest MP — Marzouq Al-Heneini — thanked His Highness the Amir and His Highness the Crown Prince; praying that Allah Almighty will grant speed recovery for His Highness the Amir.

He considers the new Assembly a fruit of the directives of His Highness the Amir and His Highness the Crown Prince. He said the Amiri speech on June 22 is the life jacket and road map of the legislature, vowing that the Assembly will fully cooperate with the government in the interest of citizens. In addition, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah also delivered a speech. He congratulated the MPs for winning the citizens’ trust and wishing them the best in their endeavors. His Highness the Prime Minister in his speech said that “we are living in a new era that needs a new vision of national work based on the foundations of reform, commitment to wisdom, and the effective participation and joint work to achieve the aspirations of the people.”

He affirmed that Decree Five was issued according to Article 71 of the Constitution: “Should necessity arise for urgent measures to be taken while the National Assembly is not in session or is dissolved, the Amir may issue decrees in respect thereof which have the force of law, provided that they are not contrary to the Constitution or to the appropriations included in the budget law. Such decrees are referred to the National Assembly within the fifteen days following their issue if the Assembly is in session. If it is dissolved or its legislative term has expired, such decrees are referred to the next Assembly at its first sitting. If they are not thus referred, they retrospectively cease to have the force of law, without the necessity of any decision to that effect. If they are referred and the Assembly does not confirm them, they retrospectively cease to have the force of law, unless the Assembly approves their validity for the preceding period or settles in some other way the effects arising there from.” He said this decree was aimed at having a legislature that depicts the true image of the people by voting based on the address in their civil identification card.

He also stressed the need to maintain national unity and avoid disputes for Kuwait to remain safe and united. He emphasized the importance of working as per Article 50 of the Constitution: “The system of Government is based on the principle of separation of powers functioning in co-operation with each other in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. None of these powers may relinquish all or part of its competence specified in this Constitution.” He clarified that cooperation and the separation of powers do not entail removal of any of the powers granted to different authorities.

He affirmed the government will submit a feasible work program to guarantee progress for the nation; such that it includes the development of education, health care, overseas treatment and housing welfare. He added the government will focus on combating money laundering and corruption in order to achieve Kuwait Vision 2035. He said the government will adopt strategies to diversify sources of national income, develop small and medium enterprises (SMEs), ensure that the educational outputs match the actual manpower needs of the local labor market, generate more job opportunities, restore citizens’ trust in public institutions by instructing ministers to personally meet citizens in order to listen to their complaints and help them complete their transactions, end nepotism or the use of ‘wasta’ (influence), upgrade ‘Sahel’ application to further ease the completion of transactions, switch to fully digital service to end the era of paper transactions, secure food and drinking water reserves, improve the tourism sector including the establishment of entertainment cities on Failaka Island and in Wafra, empower women, provide more protection for women and children, and impose harsher punishment on officials proven to be involved in corrupt or bribery. He went on to say that Kuwait is not far from the consequences of the Russian-Ukraine War, which has had a negative impact on the regional and international communities. He added the Israeli aggression against Palestinians continues before the eyes of the whole world.

The session was adjourned for a while to pave way for HH the Crown Prince to leave the Assembly Hall and then the legislature proceeded to discuss other items in its agenda. MP Ahmed Al-Saadoun was elected speaker through voice vote (acclamation), while MPs Muhammad Al-Mutair and Hassan Jowhar vied for the deputy speaker post. Al-Mutair emerged victorious with 25 votes compared to Jowhar’s 20 votes. MP Essa Al-Kandari also contested the election; but he withdrew during the voting process, claiming some voters took pictures of their ballots — a violation of the Secret Ballot Decree.

MP Osama Al-Shaheen was elected secretary with 25 votes, while his opponent — MP Majed Al-Mutairi — got 20 votes. MPs Abdulkareem Al-Kandari and Muhammad Al-Hewaila vied for the observer post; but Al-Hewaila backed out, so Al-Kandari took the position. It is worth mentioning that before the voting process, Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Ammar Al-Ajmi announced the ministers will leave the Assembly Hall in order to fulfill the government’s promise not to participate in the election of speaker, deputy speaker, secretary, observer and members of parliamentary committees as per the directive of the political leadership.

Furthermore, the Assembly approved the formation of temporary committees and election of their members as follows:

Combating Negative Phenomenon Committee
Muhmad Hayef
Hamad Al-Obaid
Hamdan Al-Azmi
Falah Al-Hajri
Mubarak Al-Tasha
Oil and Energy Affairs Committee
Hassan Jowhar
Abdullah Al-Mudaf
Hamdan Al-Azmi
Faisal Al-Kandari
Osama Al-Zaid
Bedouns Affairs Committee
Hassan Jowhar
Al-Saifi Mubarak Al-Saifi
Hani Shams
Abdullah Fehad
Osama Al-Zaid
Also, MP Khalil Al-Saleh unveiled his plan to submit a proposal to form a temporary committee
for the affairs of retirees to discuss bills on retirees and follow up their conditions; MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf asked his colleagues to sign the Amnesty Bill that he intends to submit soon.

The National Assembly also on Tuesday elected members of permanent committees for the 17th parliamentary term as follows:
Responding to the Amiri Speech Committee
Osama Al-Shaheen
Thamer Al-Suwait
Hamad Al-Obaid
Mubarak Al-Hajraf
Fares Al-Otaibi
Petitions and Complaints Committee
Hamdan Al-Azmi
Falah Al-Hajri
Hani Shams
Mubarak Al-Tasha
Yousef Al-Bazzali
Interior and Defense Affairs Committee
Khalid Al-Omairi
Khalid Al-Otaibi
Hamad Al-Bazzali
Shuaib Ali Shaaban
Muhammad Al-Mahan
Financial and Economic Affairs Committee
Saleh Ashour
Hamed Al-Bazzali
Abdullah Al-Anbaie
Abdulwahab Al-Essa
Shuaib Al-Muwaizri
Abdullah Fehad
Majed Al-Mutairi
Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee
Soud Al-Asfour
Abdulkareem Al-Kandari
Muhannad Al-Sayer
Mubarak Al-Tasha
Osama Al-Shaheen
Abdullah Al-Anbaie
Osama Al-Zaid
Education, Culture and Guidance Affairs Committee
Khalil Abul
Falah Al-Hajri
Alia Al-Khalid
Hamad Al-Matar
Muhammad Al-Hewaila
Health, Social and Labor Affairs Committee
Fares Al-Otaibi
Hani Shams
Khalil Al-Saleh
Al-Saifi Mubarak Al-Saifi
Osama Al-Shaheen
Public Utilities Committee
Mubarak Al-Hajraf
Faisal Al-Kandari
Majed Al-Mutairi
Muhammad Al-Mahan
Khalid Al-Omaira
Essa Al-Kandari
Muhammad Al-Hewaila
Budgets and Final Accounts Committee
Adel Al-Damkhi
Hamad Al-Obaid
Soud Al-Asfour
Osama Al-Zaid
Hamdan Al-Azmi
Hamad Al-Matar
Fares Al-Otaibi
Public Funds Protection Committee
Shuaib Al-Muwaizri
Thamer Al-Suwait
Khalid Al-Otaibi
Jenan Bu Shehri
Mehalhal Al-Mudaf
Parliamentary Priorities Committee
Ahmed Lari
Hamad Al-Medlej
Abdullah Fehad

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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