By B Izzak
KUWAIT: The first grilling against HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah on Tuesday ended with no motion after the premier refuted a host of charges made by MP Muhalhal Al-Mudhaf. During the five-hour debate of the grilling, the prime minister categorically denied the charges, saying he decided to face the grilling although it was against the constitution and rulings by the constitutional court.
HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a congratulatory cable to HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad, in which he praised the democratic practice witnessed at the National Assembly session, including the overall discussions of the grilling against the premier. In his cable, HH the Amir praised the premier’s performance, which he described as distinguished with high efficiency during his comprehensive responses to the grilling’s topics.
HH the Amir also hailed the high spirit, competence and responsibility shown by members of the National Assembly within their constitutional right. HH the Amir expressed wishes of success to everyone serving the homeland, and all those who contribute in achieving progress and prosperity that we all seek. HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah also sent a similar congratulatory cable to HH Sheikh Ahmad.
During the debate, HH Sheikh Ahmad said that his government has established strong cooperation with the National Assembly, and Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun once said that cooperation between the two bodies is the best in Kuwait’s history. He also stressed that the timing of the grilling is not good when the Assembly is scheduled to debate a large number of crucial legislations for the benefit of the people and the country. Sheikh Ahmad said the Cabinet was formed only six months ago and during this short period, important achievements have been made.
HH the Prime Minister stated that any grilling motion submitted against the prime minister is supposed to be limited to the general policy of the government and its general framework. He touched on the political reforms undertaken by the government by cleansing the electoral process, criminalizing byelections, regulating citizens' voting process according to their civil ID address, and the government not participating in elections for the speakership of the National Assembly.
HH Sheikh Ahmad also said the Amiri pardon of some citizens came after extensive negotiations and was not a mere response to the grilling, nor was it conceived today. He added the Amiri pardon is an example of the pure will and sincere desire of HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf for what is in the best interest of the country, as this move overcomes the burdens of the past and embodies the first step towards the future.
The premier cited several MPs who participated in long negotiations that ended with the approval of the amnesty, which made everyone happy, stressing on the necessity of overcoming missteps of the past and moving forward to tolerance. He reiterated his emphasis on adhering to the constitution and his desire to cooperate with the National Assembly and complete the Kuwaiti constitutional process.
At the end of the debate, Mudhaf declared his non-cooperation with the prime minister but he needed 10 MPs to sign the non-cooperation motion to become official. The letter did not secure that number and the grilling ended with no motion.
Audit Bureau chief appointed
The National Assembly later elected in a closed session Issam Al-Roumi as the new chairman of the Audit Bureau, the state accounting watchdog. Roumi, a senior official at the bureau, replaces Faisal Al-Shaye, who was dismissed by the Assembly several months ago.
Nod to chamber of commerce law
MPs also voted to pass in principle a historic law to place the influential Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the supervision of the ministry of commerce and industry. Established in 1956, the chamber, which represents the country’s elite businessmen and the business community in general, has remained an independent body not subjected to government monitoring. Commerce and Industry Minister Mohammad Al-Aiban said the main points of the new law is to subject the chamber to government supervision, the right to control fees and donations and the right to dismiss board members. The minister told the Assembly the law represents a qualitative shift in Kuwait’s political history.
MP Osama Al-Shaheen said the Assembly is making history today by subjecting the chamber to the law. MP Marzouq Al-Ghanem said he totally backs the law, as there should be a law to govern the chamber. Ghanem recalled that it was the chamber’s board who called for a law to govern it.