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Speaker details procedure on vacating MP seat

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KUWAIT CITY, March 27: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim recently held a press conference on the procedures regarding the verdict of the Constitutional Court to nullify the parliamentary membership of MP Badr Al- Dahoum. He disclosed that on March 14, 2021, he received a letter from the Constitutional Court informing him about its decision which consisted of three items — cancelling the results of elections through which Al-Dahoum was declared winner of a parliamentary seat as representative of citizens residing in the Fifth Constituency, that his parliamentary membership is invalid and the consequent measures.

He said the Constitutional Court highlighted the required procedures including the announcement of the vacancy of Al- Dahoum’s parliamentary seat and the call for supplementary elections. He explained that the issue concerns two parties — the citizens who filed the appeal and Al-Dahoum. He said the Assembly, speaker and MPs are not part of the dispute and they did not issue the decision. He added the letter of the Constitutional Court included an executive part as it instructed the relevant institutions and authorities to execute the decision even by force if necessary. He cited Article 30 of the National Assembly Decree, which mandates him to enforce the Constitution and court verdicts, stressing the issue is not subject to his whim.

He also cited Law No. 14/1973 on the establishment of the Constitutional Court, which specified the responsibilities of the court. The Constitutional Court has the sole authority to explain the Constitution and decide on the constitutionality of laws. It is the only court that should decide on appeals concerning parliamentary membership and elections. The decisions of the Constitutional Court is binding for everybody, including other courts. Are the MPs and Assembly not part of everybody, he asked. He went on to clarify that in case the Constitution is amended and the MPs are no longer subject to court decisions, then other procedures could be adopted.

Addressing those who pointed out the final decision issued by the Court of Cassation which confirmed the validity of Al-Dahoum’s parliamentary membership; he argued that according to the law on establishing the Constitutional Court, its decisions supersede all other decisions including those issued by other courts. He affirmed that he did not receive any letter from other courts. Al-Ghanim asserted that in his capacity as Assembly speaker, he must execute the decision and he is not and will not be part of any personal dispute. He said announcing the vacancy of Al-Dahoum’s seat as per Article 84 of the Constitution and Article 14 of the National Assembly Decree will be done in the upcoming session without the need to vote on it. Replying to those who said that he voted on the membership of former MPs Walid Al- Tabtaba’e and Jama’an Al- Harbash in 2018, he asserted: “That is true because such procedure was adopted according to Article 16 of the National Assembly Decree which was cancelled by the Constitutional Court later as it was unconstitutional.”

He pointed out the cancelled article stated that in case a lawmaker does not meet any one of the conditions for him to serve as representative of the nation, the issue is referred to the parliamentary Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee which will prepare a report in this regard and then the MPs will vote on the issue. He said the decision of the Constitutional Court states that in case a lawmaker fails to meet any one of the conditions, the issue is referred to the Constitutional Court to decide on it. He added that according to the Constitutional Court’s decision, any work of the Assembly on such an issue is null and void. He stressed that the decisions of the Constitutional Court are considered supplementary to the Constitution and they are higher than the laws.

He also confirmed that items in the agenda of the session slated for March 30 include the bills on reducing the remand period from 21 to 10 days, cancelling the remand for opinion cases, amending the Audio-Visual Law, granting general amnesty, granting financial support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), postponing the collection of installments for citizens’ loans, and amending the Publishing and Printing Law.

On the other hand, MP Hassan Jawhar accused Chairman of the Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee MP Khalid Ayed Al-Anzi and Chairman of the Interior and Defense Affairs Committee MP Mubarak Al-Ajmi of delaying the inclusion of important bills in the agenda of the upcoming session. He claimed Al-Ajmi and Al-Anzi coordinated with the speaker to delay these bills; pointing out the bill on amending the National Assembly Election Law was supposed to be part of the agenda, but Al-Ajmi did not submit the relevant report despite its completion. He went on to say that the bill on amending the same law including the procedures for electing the speaker was supposed to be included in the agenda, but Al-Anzi did not submit the report in this regard.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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