Misdemeanor vs criminal offences – Lawyers debate law that bans poll candidates

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KUWAIT CITY, Feb 20: Several lawyers have stated a provision in election law that disqualifies citizens from running in the Parliamentary elections if convicted by court for criminal offense, noting only misdemeanor cases require clarification from the candidate, reports Al-Qabas daily.

Lawyer Meshari Al-Esaimi said a candidate of the National Assembly, according to election law, must not have been convicted of any crime affecting his honor and integrity. However, the clause is not specific about crimes that affect candidates’ honor and dignity. He noted the basis of storming the National Assembly is political, and he wonders if the action will be counted as crime that affects their honor and dignity. It falls on the Court of Cassation to make a decision in that regard, he noted. For his part, Attorney Najeeb Al-Waqyan said the law prevents the candidacy of a citizen in the National Assembly elections if convicted of a crime or misdemeanor affecting his honor and dignity, indicating an MP convicted of a crime or misdemeanor loses his membership at once.

The MPs, in such instances, are not required to vote after a final verdict is issued, because the affected MP will be stripped of his membership automatically without the need to consult the Parliament for that purpose. He is of the view that storming of the National Assembly is a crime and not a misdemeanor, thus it can not be discussed if the accused have already been convicted in a final verdict. In his contribution, Lawyer Abdulhamid Al-Sarraf said the storming of National Assembly is considered a crime, so the accused will be prevented from contesting for parliamentary seat if convicted in the final ruling. He expected the Court of Cassation to investigate their reasons for storming the National Assembly, and if they’re opposed to corruption, they should have enough evidences to prove their claims.

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