The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The Cabinet yesterday approved a draft decree convening the second ordinary session of the 16th legislative term of the National Assembly on Oct 26, 2021. The Cabinet also approved a draft decree appointing Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah as chief of HH the Crown Prince's Diwan with the rank of minister for four years. Both decrees were sent to HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for final approval.

Senior MP Bader Al-Humaidi yesterday called for opening a new chapter in Kuwait's politics by holding a national dialogue under the auspices of HH the Amir, insisting that HH the Amir is the only personality capable of rescuing the country from political paralysis. But he insisted that any dialogue or reconciliation should be preceded by measures to allow the return of self-exiled opposition figures who have been living in Turkey for over three years to escape jail terms.

The call for national dialogue was reportedly proposed by a number of opposition MPs, but no details have been published yet. The Assembly speaker said two weeks ago that some political initiatives had been taken and expressed hope they would lead to a breakthrough.

Meanwhile, MP Osama Al-Shaheen yesterday urged the government to start implementing a law that calls for reducing the number of expats, who form around 70 percent of Kuwait's population. The lawmakers said the law was issued almost a year ago and became effective in November last year, but the government has so far done nothing to implement the legislation that calls to place a cap on the number of foreigners in the country.

He said the law calls on the government to delegate a minister to be responsible for the implementation of the law, but this has not happened. The government is required under the law to issue executive decisions within one year to implement the law, but this has also not happened although the yearlong period is about to end. The law calls to reduce the number of expats over the next five years and wants the government to set the mechanisms to do that.

Based on the latest population figures, around 300,000 residents have left the country during the coronavirus pandemic. Kuwait's population now stands at 4.6 million, 1.5 million of whom are citizens and 3.1 million expats, down from 3.4 million before the pandemic.

MP Ali Al-Qattan yesterday sent a series of questions to Finance Minister Khalifa Hamada about the geographic and investment distribution of Kuwaiti assets overseas managed by Kuwait Investment Authority, estimated at around $700 billion. The lawmaker also inquired about the return on investments in international stock markets every year for the past decade.