Speaker steps in to stop row between Harbash, Adasani

Riyadh Al-Adasani and Jamaan Al-Harbash

KUWAIT: Fourteen MPs met yesterday ahead of the start of the next National Assembly term on Oct 24 and warned the government of more grillings if it does not cooperate with the Assembly. Opposition MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain, who hosted the meeting, issued stern threats to the government that “there are no red lines” with regards to grilling any member of the Cabinet, including the prime minister himself. He said the behavior of the government in the next three months is crucial to determine the relations between the Assembly and the government.

Babtain said the lawmakers declared their total opposition and rejection of government attempts to pass an expected law on taxation in line with the unified Gulf legislation on value added tax, which Gulf states plan to start imposing next year. The lawmaker said MPs consider laws on scrapping the hike in petrol prices and pensions a priority in the coming term, and they will prepare a new list of other legislations.

Babtain warned that so far, the National Assembly has not achieved much, and many legislations have been presented but the Assembly hasn’t voted on them yet. He declared that filing grillings against ministers and the prime minister is a constitutional right of lawmakers and the government should deal with this fact. Babtain said the lawmakers will hold another meeting next week.

Tabtabaei backs grilling

In a related development, Islamist opposition MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said yesterday he will support the grilling filed by MPs Riyadh Al-Adasani and Abdulkarim Al-Kandari against State Minister for Cabinet Affairs and acting Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah. He said he will also sign any no-confidence motion against the minister and any of the 10 ministers who were members of the Cabinet that served along with the previous National Assembly.

He said these 10 ministers who were retained in the new Cabinet are responsible for taking unconstitutional measures along with the previous Assembly, and accordingly should be held accountable for their work. Tabtabaei charged that the 10 ministers including the prime minister have harmed public freedoms and public funds and with the help of the previous Assembly issued bad legislation like the crackdown on tweeters, imposing security restrictions on youth activists, increasing the duration of preventive detention and revoking the citizenship of some Kuwaitis among others.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem yesterday separately met MPs Jamaan Al-Harbash and Riyadh Al-Adasani in a bid to end a public row between the two lawmakers. The speaker urged them to end the ongoing confrontation between them.

By B Izzak