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Parliament Speaker calls meeting to discuss increase in fuel prices – ‘Prospect of emergency session very slim’

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 27: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanim said on Tuesday that he has invited the government and MPs to a meeting next week to discuss the rise in fuel prices. “The Parliament seeks to protect citizens and ensure that they remain unaffected by the increase in fuel prices,” Al-Ghanim said in a statement to the press, adding that there has been a consensus over the need to hold this meeting.

Moreover, he noted that this urgent meeting has been called to discuss the issue of rising fuel prices. Speaking on the procedure to convene such meetings, Al- Ghanim said upon notifi cation, the Parliament Speaker would inform the government and the meeting can only take place with His Highness the Amir’s consent. “We are looking for results that protect citizens, not electoral or ideological gains,” the Parliament Speaker noted.

Al-Ghanim also said that the majority of MPs have concurred to hold this meeting in order to sort out the issue of fuel prices in a timely manner, adding that he is awaiting the government’s response to the meeting, expected to be held next week.

Meanwhile, the Parliament protects the rights and welfare of the public, and the petrol price hike will be suspended similar to what happened to the electricity subsidy issue when the public was exempted from the decision to lift subsidies, says Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim.

The speaker also explained that it takes time to process an emergency session request, and since the next parliamentary term is just around the corner, the prospect of an emergency session is very slim. After speaking with a number of MPs in charge of the emergency session request, Al-Ghanim disclosed the government will be invited to a meeting at the National Assembly Office to discuss the supposed agenda of the session.

Furthermore, the request for an emergency session to discuss the governmental decision to lift petrol subsidies took an unexpected turn, as it will most likely be rejected. After reviewing the request, the constitutional experts and Secretariat General of the National Assembly discovered that a substantial number of MPs did not sign the petition themselves as they designated some individuals to copy their signatures and sign on their behalf.

The Secretariat General clarified that the MP must be in the country, while his parliamentary certifi ed signature and offi ce stamp should be affixed on the document, to validate his participation in any parliamentary motion. Since a number of signatures do not match the records, whereas others just stamped the request without their signature, their accountability and participation had been nullified.

Therefore, the number of signatures on the request decreased, rendering it invalid. The unexpected turn of events roused suspicions that the MPs are committing fraud, but the Secretariat General disregarded the notion and stated such accusations are baseless, because these MPs have designated trusted individuals to sign the request on their behalf with good intention — to push for deliberations on an issue which affects the general public day by day.

MP Ahmed Lari, one of the MPs who stamped the request without a signature, pointed out the Secretariat General and constitutional experts were not wrong in invalidating those who did not meet the conditions. He said he is part of a parliamentary delegation outside the country and wanted to show his support for the emergency session by instructing his offi ce to affi x his stamp on the request

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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