Tuesday , September 26 2017

Constitutional Court … and appeals! – Failure to correct error a real shame

Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi
KUWAIT is in a dire need for serious review of the structure of the parliamentary elections administration. There is no shame in committing error but the real shame is the failure to correct the error.

There is a need to rectify complications in counting the votes and announcing the results of parliamentary elections.

Basically, the biggest mistake is sticking to the idea of announcing results quickly, which makes it easy for disgruntled candidates to file appeals at the Constitutional Court. Such a process is associated with avoidable waste of time.

Chances should be given to those who can verify the results without necessarily approaching the Constitutional Court. Close watchers know that rumors fly around the country when a judgment is about to be delivered, which brings about series of analyses and expectations. However, all those are issues that can be rectified with a little clairvoyance and foresight.

The solution should involve complete confirmation of the results, even if the votes have to be counted once or twice. This is the way doubts about the results can be eliminated, even if it means taking two or three days to ensure everybody is confident about the result, and to end the chain of appeals against the election results in the country.

It is unreasonable to distract people with dissolution or otherwise, because it could reflect on the performances of the lawmakers when carrying out their parliamentary duties.

It has also been noted that many people can play with the emotions of people (as often is the practice) by using parliamentary tools to impress citizens when submitting unrealistic bills and exaggerating in their oversight duties.

Yesterday, the Constitutional Court nullified the membership of a lawmaker and declared another one as the winner after over five months of parliamentary activities! Is that correct? Does it guarantee equal opportunities? Who can accept this?

I am not trying to cast doubts here on the integrity of the judiciary or the electoral committees. However, they are human beings who are prone to errors — this was exactly what the Constitutional Court judgment established. I am only strongly criticizing the mechanism of announcing parliamentary elections results, especially since the Constitutional Court confirmed the error by replacing the former lawmaker with another one based on the process of ballot recount.

I hope that an appropriate and logical mechanism for vote-counting will be put in place, starting from the new elections. It may take a longer time but the most important thing is to end the series of appeals filed at the Constitutional Court in this regard.

To ensure people are not denied their rights due to unintended errors arising from the massive pressure faced by the electoral committees, I wish to make a possible logical suggestion of separating the vote-counting committee from the election committee.

This is to avoid a situation whereby massive pressure and fatigue will cause errors that are beyond human control. We still regard the highly respected judges as human beings who are also prone to errors. Even if the vote-counting and voting committees are separated, there could still be errors, which is natural with human beings, but they will surely be far lesser in number.

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By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi

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