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WHEN the speakership of the legislative authority blends with the premiership of the Council of Ministers, it leads to the overriding of the Constitution in terms of the separation of powers, which means each of them sticks to their own lane of operations.
However, when the higher (legislative) authority becomes subordinate to the lower (executive) authority, it abandons its natural role, which is to express the viewpoints of the people and seek to serve them.
In this regard, the role of the second man in the state (the National Assembly Speaker) is the first defender of his assembly. He does not turn into a shield for the government by confronting members of his authority. He also does not allow the parliament to turn into an authoritarian authority driven by the whims of the MPs.
There is no doubt that the role of the National Assembly Speaker is complex, but it remains at the same distance between the two sides of the government – legislative and executive. The government translates the viewpoint of the regime through its decisions and plans, while the legislative authority is the guardian of popular interests.
This is due to the fact that the government tends to impose its will, especially if it is based on an unclear vision to exercise its powers. Also, if it uses corruption to strengthen its power, then the role of the head of the legislative authority should be decisive in facing such an affront.
In recent years, especially with the four governments of Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, the speakership of the National Assembly has miscarried its role. Many have noticed that it has become the first defender of the government on the basis of “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or the oppressed one.” Unfortunately, this is happening for the first time in Kuwait’s parliamentary history.
Since the 1960s, several speakers have succeeded in the National Assembly, starting with Abdullatif Muhammad Al-Ghanim, Abdulaziz Hamad Al-Saqer, Saud Al-Abdulrazzaq, Ahmed Zaid Al-Sarhan, Khaled Al-Ghunaim, Muhammad Yousef Al-Adsani, Ahmad Al-Saadoun, Jassim Mohammad Al-Kharafi and Ali Al-Rashed, all the way to Marzouq Al-Ghanim.
Most of them were well aware of the nature of their role and powers. They did not take sides with the lower authority, as they knew when to stand with the government and when to shield it from the parliament. They stayed away from the “diwaniyas” and decision-making salons that are aromatized with incense, and coffee cups abound.
Despite all the observations on the performance of the MPs, the National Assembly Speaker should not abandon his role, or align himself with the Prime Minister. He should instead work according to his powers to confront a government that has already abandoned its role.
The recent non-decisive governments have caused more economic and social decline, either due to the poor selection of ministers, most of whom lack the prudence in managing their institutions, which made the ministerial position repelling, or their lack of a work program to meet the needs of the country.
Many Kuwaitis are well aware of the reason behind this miscarriage and the abandonment of the speakership role, especially with regard to confronting the circumvention of the constitution, which left Kuwait in an executive and legislative vacuum, as if the Iraqi and Lebanese plague infected us.
This is happening even though all Kuwaiti capabilities are available to help overcome the abnormal situation that the country is enduring, by laying out a roadmap to get out of the crisis with minimal losses, and even turning it into a historic opportunity for Kuwait’s advancement.
Irrespective of the justifications for the speakership of the National Assembly, there is a need for a clear position to prevent the continuation of this governmental or legislative constitutional absurdity, and avoid evading the government, which negatively reverts to public affairs.
Many citizens believe that the speakership of the National Assembly should work with the MPs to approve popular demands. The speakership should put pressure on the executive authority to comply with it and prepare the legislative tools for this, and not make it a source of parliamentary-governmental exploits, given that the speakership of the National Assembly is a decision-making authority that is not subject to a government of non-decisions and compromises that ruins more than it builds.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times