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Lawmaker offers bill to pull MP seats

Reciprocity pacts eyed

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 13: Deputy Parliament Speaker Eissa Al-Kandari has submitted a proposal to amend Article 16 of the parliamentary internal regulations to prevent recurrence of the conflict between the judiciary and legislative authorities on the validity of parliamentary membership.

The proposal allows the Parliament to automatically cancel the membership of any lawmaker once convicted as he no longer meets the membership conditions, without the need to vote on the cancellation.

Al-Kandari pointed out there are many cases of lawmakers receiving a court ruling which does not necessarily nullify any of the conditions for membership and the Parliament should settle the issue through voting. Upon receiving a case on the validity of parliamentary membership, the Speaker must immediately refer it to the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee for investigation along with the concerned MP.

The committee must submit its report within two weeks and the Parliament must discuss it in the next session or within two weeks, the lawmaker added. Since the beginning of the current legislative term, the Parliament witnessed the submission of more than 20 proposals to amend the internal regulations, but none of them addressed Article 16 although it has been under the spotlight since the Court of Cassation announced its verdict which led to controversy over the cancellation of the membership of former MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Jam’an Al-Harbash.

These proposals include the legality of a parliamentary session without the attendance of the government, prohibiting ministers from voting on matters related to interpellation motions, discussion of interpellation motions behind closed doors and establishment of a committee on parliamentary conduct. In another development, MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari submitted queries to the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs about the reciprocity agreements between Kuwait and other countries.

He said Kuwait has always been at the forefront in terms of international contributions and hospitality, but Kuwaitis who travel to countries which have reciprocity agreements with Kuwait are not given the same privileges granted to the citizens of those countries whenever they visit Kuwait. He asked about countries whose citizens are given visa upon arrival to Kuwait while Kuwaitis do not enjoy the same privilege when they visit these countries, visa fees paid by Kuwaitis compared to those paid by foreigners visiting Kuwait, and plans to level the field in terms of international reciprocity.

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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