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KUWAIT CITY, Nov 30: The National Assembly on Wednesday approved the report of the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee about Necessity Decree No. 5/2022 on amending the roster of voters with 53 votes in favor and three against. Under this draft law, voters will vote using the Civil ID. Rapporteur of the committee MP Muhammad Al-Mahan confirmed that the panel members unanimously approved the decree, taking into consideration its importance in preventing manipulation of votes to push for the victory of certain candidates without any regard for the will of the nation.
The Assembly also approved the committee’s report on Necessity Decree number 6/2022 about adding new residential areas to the existing constituencies with 53 votes in favor and two against. Chairman of the committee MP Khalid Al-Otaibi said the decree stipulates the inclusion of new residential areas to the constituencies; thereby, allowing a large number of citizens to exercise their right of suffrage. The panel unanimously approved this decree as well. Meanwhile, MP Saleh Ashour — who rejected both decrees — cited Article 71 of the Constitution: “Where incidents requiring urgent action occur between sessions of the National Assembly or during its dissolution the Amir may, in such cases, promulgate decrees that shall have force of law provided they do not infringe on the Constitution or tamper with the estimates appearing in the Budgetary Law.
Such decrees shall be submitted to the National Assembly within 15 days of their promulgation should the Assembly be in session, and at its first meeting following its dissolution should it have been dissolved, or following its lawful prorogation. Where the decrees are not so submitted, their force of law shall ipso facto cease, without necessity for the promulgation of a Resolution to that purport, with retroactive effect. Should they, however, upon submission, be unratified by the Assembly, their force of law shall cease retroactively save where the Assembly considered sanctioning their enforcement at the previous session or where it considered settling in another manner any measures resulting therefrom.” Ashour pointed out that such decrees are applicable only if serious economic crises, catastrophes and disputes over territorial borders happen in the absence of the Assembly. He argued none of these incidents happened; hence, the above mentioned decrees were unnecessary.
On the other hand, MP Jenan Bu Shehri supports both decrees, but she requested referral of the reports back to the concerned committee in order to clearly define the supposed manipulation of voters’ names and addresses, which necessitated the issuance of Decree Five. She suggested adding the fact-finding committee’s report to the Decree Five report for the MPs to know the rationale behind the issuance of such a decree. MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari affirmed the decrees were issued in accordance with the Constitution; indicating that many citizens were unable to vote in the past because their areas of residence were not part of any constituency. He added the fact-finding committee reported the manipulation of votes, so he wants to know if those behind such manipulation have been identified and punished.
MP Hassan Jowhar said both decrees have contributed to the much awaited reform process and addressed a huge part of the problem, stressing the need to ratify other important laws including the amendment of the Election Law and reorganization of constituencies. MP Adel Al-Damkhi voiced objection to the interference of the government in amending the Election Law, while asserting the two decrees rectified loopholes in voting procedures and some former MPs decided not to run for the election, because their unscrupulous acts in the past would have been revealed through these two decrees.
MP Muhannad Al-Sayer said the Assembly’s discussion on the two decrees is in line with Article 71 of the Constitution, stressing this means that the issue is not in the hands of the executive authority. In addition, the Assembly approved the recommendation to assign the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee to submit a report on the steps that the government has taken to prevent the manipulation of votes in the future. Moreover, the agenda for Wednesday’s session included the continuation of the MPs’ response to the Amiri speech during the inaugural session.
Deputy Assembly Speaker Muhammad Al-Mutair said the Amiri speech will be referred to the Amiri Speech Response Committee to finalize the response. In their response, the MPs stressed the need for comprehensive political, economic, administrative and financial reforms. They said the appointment of senior officials should be based on competence and experience for the reform to become a reality, rather than a useless slogan. They affirmed that Kuwait has the capabilities to achieve success and advancement, indicating the ministers must shoulder their responsibilities. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff