‘Session adjourned for 5th time due to govt absence’

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KUWAIT CITY, March 7: National Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun adjourned the session on Tuesday due to the absence of the government, disclosing the next session is scheduled for March 21. Meanwhile, a number of lawmakers have stressed the need for His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to appoint only the best as members of the new governmen and exclude the former ministers who instigated crises. MP Khalid Al-Otaibi said the parliamentary session was cancelled for the fifth time on Tuesday, because of the absence of the government and he considers this a deliberate disruption of legislative work. He underscored the need to end such practice, as it is unacceptable that the government controls the Assembly which represents the people.

He argued the parliamentary tradition of requiring the presence of the government to hold a session is wrong, asserting that traditions should not contravene the Constitution. He added the Constitution is written in clear letters, specifying the condition for holding a session; that is, to achieve quorum. He went on to say that he and some of his colleagues filed a grilling motion against HH the former Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid for failure to form the government within the specified period.

He then unveiled his plan to grill Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf if the latter delays the formation of the new government and does not attend the session on March 21. MP Thamer Al-Suwait said the government did not attend the sessions slated for Jan 10 and 24, Feb 7 and 21, and March 7; stressing this means the government does not want to cooperate with the legislature. He pointed out those who drafted the Constitution are not naïve to require the presence of the government to hold legislative sessions. He explained that Article 97 specifies the conditions for holding a parliamentary session, while Article 116 stipulates the authorities and duties of the government.

Majority
Article 97: The presence of more than half of the members of the National Assembly is necessary for a quorum. Decisions shall be reached by an absolute majority of members present, except in cases where it is necessary to obtain a special majority. Where votes show a tie, the matter debated shall be deemed rejected. Article 116: The Prime Minister and the Ministers shall be heard whenever they request to speak at the National Assembly and they may resort to the assistance of, or delegate whosoever they wish from among the senior civil servants to appear for them. The Assembly shall enjoin the Minister concerned to attend the debate of a matter relating to his Ministry.

The Cabinet shall be represented at the Assembly’s meetings either by the Prime Minister or by some of its members. Al-Suwait added the Constitution is clear; hence, the explanation of the Constitutional Court is unnecessary. He stated that previous experience proved the habit or tradition of linking the presence of the government with holding a legislative session is wrong and a violation of the Constitution. He called on His Highness the Prime Minister to choose the new ministers wisely, and exclude those proven to be a failure and instigators of crises like Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Barrak Al-Sheetan and Minister of Finance Abdulwahab Al-Rashead; otherwise, the prime minister will face grilling motions.

MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf said HH the Prime Minister must choose statesmen who know the difference between an ordinary worker and a minister, and have a clear reform vision. He revealed that he proposed requesting for an explanation of articles 97 and 116 in order to end arguments on holding parliamentary sessions with or without the government, but the Assembly rejected his proposal. He said the citizens, including the lawmakers, are disappointed due to the failure to change the governmental path; indicating the delayed formation of the new government puts the country back to square one. In another development, Human Resources Committee Chairman MP Muhammad Al-Hewaila confirmed that the panel members unanimously rejected the proposal of Minister of Justice, Endowments and Islamic Affairs and Minister of State for Integrity Promotion Abdulaziz Majed Al-Majed to change the official working hours for employees assigned in Holy Quran centers. He pointed out this is an unstudied decision, considering the afternoon shift is from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm. He said most Holy Quran centers are located in public schools and the possibility of huge traffic jams due to the end of school hours coinciding with the start of work for employees in the afternoon shift was not take into consideration. He warned about the dire consequences of the decision like higher divorce rate and mass resignation of workers. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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