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Decree sets Dec 5 general elections

Amir to grace opening of Parliament’s supplementary term

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 19: Council of Ministers Spokesperson Tariq Al-Mezrem announced that the Cabinet approved a draft decree to hold the parliamentary elections on Dec 5, 2020. HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah must approve the draft decree in accordance with the Constitution. The Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim has confirmed that the supplementary parliamentary term will open on Tuesday in the presence of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah – all of whom will deliver speeches during the opening session.

He said the Assembly will also elect its secretary, observer and members of permanent committees, disclosing he will ask the MPs to approve the current form of committees in order to save time. He added a special session will be held on the same day to discuss a number of bills, as well as vote on the demographic imbalance and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) support bills in their second reading. He affirmed as well the inclusion of the proposed amendment of the Handicapped Law and National Assembly Decree in the agenda of the opening session, in addition to the relevant parliamentary committees’ reports regarding the fact-finding committees and correspondences between the executive and legislative authorities. Talking about what he considers deliberate disruption by the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee in the submission of a report on the bills concerning Bedouns, Al-Ghanim pointed out that some MPs seem to be under pressure from some parties which are keen on preventing the release of a report on Bedouns. He promised to reveal the truth behind this issue once the supplementary term ends, stressing that he will mention some names.

In the meantime, member of the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee MP Ahmed Al-Fadl expressed disappointment over the absence of the chairman, rapporteur and some members of the committee for three meetings in row. He believes the absence was intentional and aimed at disrupting the discussion of six bills which are very important for Bedouns. Al-Fadl revealed that he and two other committee members – MPs Soud Al-Shuwaier and Sa’adoun Hammad – waited for several hours but no one else came to attend the meeting. He said some committee members were already inside the Assembly building to undergo the coronavirus test in order to attend the session slated for Tuesday but they did not respond to the call for the meeting.

He called Committee Chairman MP Askar Al-Alnzi but the latter did not pick up the phone, indicating he is afraid that some parties do not want to address the Bedoun issue as they could get certain benefits if the problem remains unsolved.

In addition, Al-Fadl reiterated his call for the concerned authorities to look into the safety measures implemented in the intensive care units (ICUs), stressing that the response he received from the doctors is unsatisfactory. He disclosed the doctors pointed out that when a covid-19 patient dies of heart clot, the recorded cause of death is coronavirus as the patient would not have suffered from heart clot if he did not contract coronavirus.

He asserted this may make sense; but it is unreasonable that when a coronavirus patient dies of blood poisoning he got from the intensive care unit (ICU), he is recorded as a coronavirus victim simply because he would not have been confined at the ICU if he was not infected with corona. Meanwhile, Rapporteur of the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee MP Abdullah Al-Kandari clarified that the committee meeting did not push through as it is impossible to discuss important bills like those concerning Bedouns within 10 minutes and to take a decision in the last 24 hours of the current parliamentary term.

Al-Kandari said he is one of the MPs who submitted bills on Bedouns – a clear manifestation that he fully supports efforts to enforce a law aimed at addressing the issue. He added the committee needs more time to listen to the opinions of relevant public institutions and the judicial authority before finalizing its report on the bills concerning Bedouns.

In another development, 14 MPs submitted a request to the Assembly to withdraw the bills on amending the Elections Law from the concerned parliamentary committee that has yet to finalize its report about these bills. The MPs asked Al-Ghanim to put the bills under the ‘other arising matters’ item as per Article 76 of the National Assembly Decree for the bills to be discussed and voted on in their two readings during Tuesday’s session. MP Adel Al-Damkhi, one of the lawmakers who signed the request, explained that experience has proven the one-man one-vote system did not produce a legislature capable of combating corruption.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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