KUWAIT CITY, Feb 7: The first batch of parliamentary hopefuls flocked to the Election Department at the Ministry of Interior as soon as it opened its doors Thursday to receive applications for those who intend to run of the supplementary National Assembly elections in the Second and Third Constituencies to fill up the seats vacated by former MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Jam’an Al-Harbash.
Nine candidates registered on the first day including Dr Anwaar Al-Qahtani who will run for the elections for the first time. After submitting her application, she told the media that upholding the Constitution starts with the elections. She filed her candidacy in order to represent the women who have repeatedly proven their capacity to engage in political work. She also stressed the need to stop procrastination and flattery “because we have to put Kuwait above everything.”
Meanwhile, Head of the Legal Unit at the department Colonel Salaah Al-Shatti said the registration will continue until Feb 16 – from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm. He added the number of registered voters in the Second Constituency totaled 62,547 and 96,528 in the Third Constituency.
Since the announcement of the supplementary elections, former MPs and seasoned candidates have been eager to join the race for the two vacant seats. However, most of them reconsidered later because the margin of success is too narrow and the current legislative term will end soon; while others have yet to decide whether to contest the elections or not as they are still assessing the situation.
In another development, five MPs submitted a proposal to modernize and regulate the official gazette, including the development of a website to make official State news more accessible.
The explanatory note of the bill underscored the need to regulate the official platform through which the State discloses information to the public, ensuring transparency and accountability.
Considering there has been no legislation in this regard since the establishment of the official gazette, the bill also stipulates the topics which will be covered and frequency of publication.
Furthermore, Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim traveled to Geneva Thursday to participate in the first meeting of the preliminary committee for the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. He will represent Arab parliaments in the next two days.
After this, Al-Ghanim will head to Cairo to attend a meeting between the Arab Parliament and heads of Arab parliamentary bodies in response to the invitation of Arab Parliament Speaker Dr Mishal Bin Fahmy Al-Salami.
KUWAIT CITY: Minister of Trade, Industry and Communication Khaled Al-Roudan has suspended for two months the decision to increase at a rate of 400 percent the rental charges of its facilities used by the Internet Service Providers and companies in the country, reports Al-Jarida daily.
The daily quoting informed sources stated the minister had met with several representatives of the internet companies and service providers to discuss the decision of increasing the charges, and the companies were not against paying more but not at the rate the Ministry of Communication has decided.
The representatives also argued that the decision to increase the rental charges was unexpected, and it did not provide a period for regularization of the issue, while the idea of increasing charges is unjustified especially as no new services have been added by the ministry.
They revealed that Al-Roudan told the companies the reason behind the decision to increase the charges, indicating it is based on observation by the State Audit Bureau under the pretext that fees have not been updated since 1999 whereas electricity tariffs have been increased; thus the ministry is compelled to increase charges on the companies to avoid deficit.
Meanwhile, two months ago, sources privy to the issue revealed that some of the companies will be compelled to pay about KD 500 thousand annually in rental value for the sites they have been using for years through an agreement with the Ministry of Communication based on this decision with a meter square of space in the Liberation Tower going from KD 4 to KD 20, while in other substations or rather switchboards the fee has been raised from KD 15 to KD 20. Also, monthly rents of areas in the communication complex will be KD 250 for the first meter square and KD 20 for any additional meter square.
Sources anticipates the decision will force the internet service providers and companies to increase charges of their services in general, especially as decision came without prior notice. Nonetheless, stakeholders in the internet sector are due to hold a meeting in the course of the week to discuss this new development, and strive to find solutions to preserve the rights of concerned companies.
By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb
Arab Times Staff