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Speaker adjourns session until after Eid

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‘Govt missing as MPs occupied vital seats’

KUWAIT CITY, April 28: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim adjourned the session slated for Tuesday until after Eid Al-Fitr, indicating the government declined to attend the session because some MPs occupied the seats allocated for ministers and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid. A few days before the session, the opposition MPs posted a joint statement on their Twitter accounts stating “no grilling, no session”. When the session started on Tuesday, several MPs occupied the front seats where members of the government are usually seated.

They also pasted papers with the statement: “We have taken the 1962 oath,” referring to the issuance of the Constitution in 1962. The government then issued a statement, clarifying they went to the Assembly building to attend the session as the agenda included important items such as the grilling motion against Minister of Health Dr Basel Al-Sabah; voting on the second reading of the bills to amend the printing, publishing and audiovisiual laws; and approval of the budget allotted for the incentive of frontline workers dealing with the coronavirus crisis. However, they were surprised as the seats allotted for them were occupied by some MPs; pointing out this is a violation of a parliamentary tradition practiced in various legislatures throughout the world. They affirmed the government is ready to cooperate with the Assembly, pointing out the illegal action of some MPs proves wrong the allegation that the executive authority is disrupting parliamentary sessions.

On the other hand, the opposition MPs announced that they will continue calling for the dismissal of the Speaker and HH the Prime Minister. MP Muhammad Al-Mutair said the absence of the government shows how it disparages the Assembly, indicating the prime minister’s excuse that he did not attend the session because some MPs occupied his seat only proves he is concerned about his position whether such move is in the interest of the citizens or not. Al-Mutair pointed out the government “cries about parliamentary traditions and ignores the statement of former State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Mubarak who asserted that ministers can sit on any of the seats in the Assembly hall.”

He stressed the MPs will not carry out their monitoring task with the current government which protected itself against grilling through its alliance with the speaker who covered up its illegal procedures. He said it is not true that the government proved the MPs caused delayed payment of the incentive to frontline workers in the fight against corona. On the contrary, the government is behind such delay, he concluded.

On the other hand, 10 opposition MPs submitted a proposal for the Budgets and Final Accounts Committee to complete its report on adding KD600 million to the budget allotted for the incentive of frontline workers that was supposed to be approved by the Assembly on Tuesday. However, Chairman of the committee MP Bader Al-Mullah said they failed to complete the report because the government did not respond to their questions. MP Saadoun Hammad called for the formation of a committee consisting of psychiatric doctors to regularly check the MPs to determine who among them are not capable of attending the sessions.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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