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KUWAIT CITY, June 3: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim cancelled the special session on Thursday due to the absence of the government. The special session was allotted for voting on proposals to amend the law on the establishment of the Administrative Court and expand its authority to rule on individuals’ appeals against the nullification or withdrawal of their Kuwaiti nationality. The government issued a statement later, explaining that its absence is due to the lack of cooperation on the part of MPs.
A total of 34 MPs were present when Al-Ghanim decided to cancel the session. The MPs voiced objection to the decision, arguing that their number is enough to achieve quorum for the session to push through regardless of the presence or absence of the government. MP Obaid Al-Wasmi addressed the speaker, asserting that Al-Ghanim acted like a camp guard when he cancelled the session due to the absence of the government. Al-Ghanim retorted: “You are the camp guard, because you were an MP in 2012 when former Speaker Ahmed Al- Saadoun cancelled the session due to the withdrawal of the government. At the time, you did not utter even a single word although 46 MPs were present then, compared to the 34 MPs who are here now. “
In a press statement after cancelling the session, Al-Ghanim pointed out that his decision is in line with parliamentary traditions and the Constitution. He cited Article 116 of the Constitution stating that a session must be held in the presence of the government represented by the Prime Minister and some ministers. He said some MPs are just focusing on Article 96 which specifies the quorum for a session to push through, while emphasizing that Article 116 added another condition to hold a session — the government’s presence. He urged the MPs, including those who have political dispute with him, to “set themselves free from terrorism.” He pointed out they should not be controlled by two or three MPs who issue statements calling on their colleagues to follow them. He stressed these few MPs have no right to distribute patriotism certificates to those who agree with them, while defaming others. He asked the MPs, who believe it is allowed to hold a session in the absence of the government, to submit a proposal for the Constitutional Court to clarify the related articles and he will sign the proposal with them.
Meanwhile, the 31 MPs Bloc issued a statement on the cancellation of the special session due to the absence of the government. They said they left no stone unturned in dealing with the government, which refused to attend the session allocated for discussing the citizenship issue — the most important aspect of national identity. They stressed that the cancelled session was aimed at ending the blackmailing and threatening practices of the government against the citizens by nullifying or withdrawing their citizenship. The MPs then urged His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to take the appropriate steps under such circumstances. Also, MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf issued a press statement, claiming that the absence of the government was planned. He pointed out this means the government is preventing the ratification of a bill related to the Nationality Law.
He said the executive authority does not want to abandon its weapon — the nullification or withdrawal of citizenship; stressing the government used this weapon in several cases concerning politicians, MPs, traders and even members of Sabah Family. He added such an attitude is reminiscent of the practices in the 18th century and earlier when the right to citizenship was not fully protected. He argued the parliamentary traditions are being considered, but they should be corrected once they contravene the Constitution. He said Article 96 of the Constitution specifies the conditions for holding a session, including quorum; that is, half of the total number of MPs and ministers. He went on to say that Article 116 specifies the duties of the government towards the Assembly, but it does not stipulate the presence of the government as a condition for holding a session. If it is true that Article 116 stipulates the presence of the government as a condition for holding a session, Article 106 will be futile because the government can suspend sessions just by being absent from the sessions without the need for this article stating that His Highness the Amir has the right to suspend sessions for one month. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff