KUWAIT CITY, Nov 20: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim sent a letter of congratulations Wednesday to newlyassigned His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Hamad Al- Sabah, expressing his best wishes on the new tasks and the formation of the new government.
In his letter, Al-Ghanim also expressed success in forming a responsible government with cohesion among its members, and to best serve the interests of the country.
MPs and prominent political figures expressed best wishes and optimism over the formation of a new government immediately after the appointment of HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled as prime minister, asserting that the whole country is looking forward to a new age of combating corruption and national development.
In a press statement, the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) urged the new prime minister to consider only the interest of the country in forming the government. It also stressed the need to prioritize pending issues such as financial corruption and general amnesty to pave way for a new tomorrow.
The movement cited the recent statement of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah on the need for everyone’s honest and noble cooperation, especially the constitutional authorities. It pointed out that real and tangible cooperation is achieved easily once a strong and trustworthy government is formed, leaving no place for nepotism and action driven by personal interests.
The new government, which is being formed under sensitive internal and regional circumstances, must consider the wishes of the general public and gain their trust by taking into consideration the opinion of the public in any action. On the other hand, the Future Path Group asserted that HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al- Khaled should form a “national rescue government;” emphasizing the new government must carry out the Herculean task of addressing all issues left behind by its predecessors.
The group also underscored the need for the new government to work towards development by laying down a clear vision and method of execution while bolstering the supervisory bodies in order to combat corruption and all forms of human rights violations, particularly at a time the Parliament is failing to keep its executive counterpart in line with the law and Constitution. The group concluded its statement with a call for an Amiri directive to unify layers of society which were divided due to the recent political ‘tug-of-war’.
Moreover, the MPs congratulated the new prime minister for attaining the trust of HH the Amir. They said the nation is now watching as it expects great things from the new government. MP Hamad Al-Hershani believes that the future of Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled will be filled with accomplishments, wishing him the best in his endeavors. Majority of the MPs called for granting general amnesty to political figures under prosecution, indicating such a step will solidify the foundation of fruitful cooperation between the two authorities.
Amid assurances that the newly-appointed Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled has not started consultations concerning the Cabinet formation, and that he will be making contacts and holding meetings for that purpose starting from Sunday, informed sources affirm the composition will most likely to be limited to filling of vacant portfolios and replacing certain elements. Sources said the replacement will possibly include those who cannot cope with demands of the next stage, in addition to those considered to be causing friction in the relationship with the National Assembly or the ministers facing parliamentary questions who are prone to grilling. Chief among the reasons for this projection is that many people are not enthusiastic about ministerial appointment, considering the parliamentary term will soon lapse.
They explained that the main focus is on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since Sheikh Al-Khalid has been appointed to head the Cabinet, while the ministries of Interior and Defense are also vacant.
“Prior to consultations, Sheikh Al-Khalid will be holding a preliminary meeting with members of the former cabinet for the purpose of knowing their mindsets about returning into the fold, as well as their readiness to meet up with demands of the next stage and work based on the new approach. They reiterated the new government will strive toward achieving “zero problems” with the National Assembly by calming down the situation and dealing with major issues that bother citizens on a daily basis”.
Those issues include asphalting of roads and putting the infrastructure in good shape, which the new government will make a priority. There are indications that a technocrat will be appointed to oversee the Ministry of Public Works and Ministry of State for Housing Affairs, and he may be appointed from among senior officials of the two ministries or Kuwait Society of Engineers.
At the same time, sources revealed that government will not succumb to parliamentary demands that violate the constitution, no matter the level of escalation, noting it has the right to buy enough time for evaluation or accountability. Meanwhile, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled will be subjected to parliamentary monitoring even before the Cabinet is formed, parliamentary sources say.
They indicated that about ten MPs so far have agreed that the grace period to be given to the new Prime Minister will not exceed the end of this year when he will be questioned. The sources said they are expecting serious cooperation from the new government, affirming that the formation of the new government, its way of approaching the main issues and its way of dealing with the parliamentary tools provided by the Constitution will indicate the level of cooperation.
They revealed that the MPs held a series of meetings prior to the declaration of the name of the new Prime Minister, and agreed to prioritize the issue of general amnesty among other issues for determining the level of cooperation of the new government and the new Prime Minister as well.
Meanwhile, MP Al-Humaidhi Al-Sebai’e said the new government headed by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled has no option other than to commit to confronting corruption, improving the economic conditions and citizens’ daily living conditions, and enhancing the internal front by achieving comprehensive national reconciliation. Also, MP Shua’ib Al-Muwaizri addressed the new Prime Minister by saying, as long as he is standing with Kuwait and Kuwaiti citizens, the MPs will support him; otherwise, they will confront him and his government.
By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff and Agencies