Cabinet sits as adjourned MPs lament absence of government

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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 11: Kuwaiti Cabinet held an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday to discuss all available options. After the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Barrak Al- Shiitan stated that the Cabinet discussed the agenda of the Parliament’s session on Tuesday, and its reports from the committees, whereas the Government was unable to complete the examination tasks during the meetings with the committees that fulfill its goals. Therefore, the Government had to leave Tuesday’s session and apologized for not attending the follow-up session on Wednesday.

Some MPs stand in clusters after the adjournment of Wednesday’s session

National Assembly Speaker Ahmed Al-Saadoun adjourned the ordinary session on Wednesday, shortly after it started due to the absence of the government. MP Adel Al-Damkhi said the former governments took the same action and he does not want the current government to do the same; so he urged the latter to have a dialogue with the lawmakers to defend its opinion, persuade the lawmakers or respond to the their demands. He pointed out that there will always be contradicting views on issues and such differences should be addressed through constitutional channels. He affirmed the lawmakers have nothing to do with the government’s decisions, but they must implement political and economic reforms. He went on to say that more than 30 lawmakers have presented their vision for the current parliamentary year as the citizens need achievements, which require cooperation and compromise between the legislative and executive authorities. He believes that His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has a sincere reform strategy. He added some parties belonging to the previous government and Parliament suffered damages, because of the premier’s proreform approach, so they intend to disrupt this approach. In case the current government resigns, HH the Prime Minister should take it as an opportunity to correct the form of the government by rejecting ministers who have no vision and cannot take decisions, he asserted.

He also disclosed that Minister of Finance Abdulwahab Al-Rashead has no data on the total amount of loans as he once said the amount is KD 14.6 billion and then KD 14.7 billion on another occasion. He added the minister did not explain the classification of beneficiaries — whether they include real estate traders or not. On the dissolution of the Assembly, Al-Damkhi asserted this is the absolute right of HH the Amir.

In addition, MP Falah Al-Hajri expressed disappointment over the absence of the government; indicating this is not the way to respond to the cooperation of lawmakers. He confirmed the Assembly remained calm in dealing with the government over the last three months to avoid clashes, grilling motions or tension. He said many ministers must be replaced to meet the citizens’ demands. He added the government is separate from the people’ priorities; pointing out that the government decided to avoid the discussion of urgent bills and requested for putting certain bills in the agenda even if these bills do not directly affect the citizens like the proposals regarding prisons, weapons, ammunition and envoys. He stressed that the lawmakers are ready to cooperate if the government wishes so; otherwise, the constitutional tools will be utilized.

MP Khalid Al-Otaibi said he respects the opinion of some citizens that the bill on writing off loans is not as urgent as the other proposals. Nevertheless, he argued the bill is urgent, considering that the loans issue is part of the daily problems of most citizens. He said this is one of the responsibilities of the lawmakers and government. He revealed the government provided misleading information about the loans issue or it has no accurate information. He thinks the government deliberately cited an exaggerated amount of loans — KD14 billion — in order to thwart attempts to write off loans. He then underscored the need for the government to conduct a detailed presentation on the loans issue. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Time Staff and Agencies

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