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‘No-shows’ end session

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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 12: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim on Wednesday adjourned the special session due to the absence of the government, which led to lack of quorum. The government did not attend the session as per the health regulations, since Minister of Health Dr Khalid Al- Saed tested positive for Covid-19 and met with the other ministers. Therefore, the government is under quarantine. Meanwhile, MP Mubarak Al- Hajraf disclosed that he was prevented from entering the Assembly hall even if he informed the security guards that he underwent the PCR test but the results are not yet out. He added the guards insisted on not allowing him to enter. He argued the presentation of a negative PCR test result is required only if one is exhibiting Corona symptoms, yet Al-Ghanim requires it as a way of preventing the MPs he does not like from attending the sessions. In response, Al-Ghanim said he did not prevent Al-Hajraf from attending the session; asserting the latter prevented himself from attending the session considering he is already aware of the health regulations but he did not comply. Al-Ghanim clarified he is responsible for the safety of all the MPs; pointing out that if he allowed Al- Hajraf to enter the Assembly hall he could have infected his colleagues in case the PCR test result is positive.

Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanim

Regarding the proposals to hold special sessions, Al-Ghanim confirmed that he received Sunday a proposal signed by MP Khalid Al-Otaibi and others to hold a special session on Wednesday. He also received Monday a proposal signed by MP Mehalhal Al-Mudaf and others to hold a special session on Thursday to discuss four out of the six items in the agenda stated in the first proposal. He explained that both proposals are in line with the National Assembly Decree, so he invited the MPs to the special sessions scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Asked if it is possible to change the date of the sessions, Al-Ghanim said such a decision is in the hands of the MPs who submitted the proposals. In this case, the concerned MPs must withdraw their proposals and then submit another stating the new dates of holding the proposed special sessions, he explained. He continued by saying that he received a proposal at 1:30 pm on Monday, which is similar to the first proposal except the day of holding the session — Thursday instead of Wednesday. However, he did not receive a request to withdraw the first proposal and it is not possible to hold two sessions on the same day — Thursday. He also received a proposal from MP Hasssan Jawhar to hold a special session on Thursday for deliberations on two items, which are already included in the first proposal. He got three proposals to hold a special session on Thursday and he invited the MPs to the session on Thursday according to the proposal submitted earlier. He added any MP can submit a proposal to hold a special session, but they should specify a day when no other session is scheduled as per Article 72 of the Assembly Decree. He stressed that his decision is based on the decree, refuting Jawhar’s allegation that he violated the decree and the Constitution. He wondered why Jawhar signed four proposals and three of which are on holding special sessions on the same day; asserting this is illegal, unreasonable and a manifestation of the absence of coordination. He also replied to Jawhar’s justification that the session held on May 27, 2021 came in more than one proposal. He clarified that it was in response to the request of the representatives of the MPs who proposed the session to coordinate with the government in order to realize the objectives of the proposals and ratify urgent bills.

Al-Ghanim revealed the proposals at the time were on holding special sessions to deliberate on the incentive for workers on the front line of the fight against coronavirus, paper-based exams and Israeli attack on the Palestinians. He added the MPs who submitted such proposals did not specify the dates for holding the sessions. He also disclosed that he received recommendations from the executive authority and Ministry of Health to suspend the sessions, but he replied that he does not believe such a decision is in the interest of citizens. He rather decided to continue holding the sessions while ensuring the strict implementation of health regulations, such as requiring the MPs and employees at the Assembly to undergo PCR test before the sessions. He added a number of MPs and employees tested positive for corona. He thanked the MPs who followed the health regulations, indicating six MPs were found to be infected and they agreed on not attending the session. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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