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Constitutional court reforms approved as it endorses elections

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The National Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved crucial amendments to the law governing the constitutional court, eliminating its powers to nullify parliamentary elections as it did on three occasions since 2012. The vote coincided with a scheduled ruling by the constitutional court, which rejected all petitions against the June 6 parliamentary polls, which means that the current Assembly and general elections have been confirmed by the country’s top court and will not be dissolved by the court.

The amendments were approved in two rounds of voting by 58 members, including all present ministers, and opposed by MP Bader Al-Mulla. This means that the government is unlikely to reject the legislation. Under the new legislation, the constitutional court has the right to review Amiri decrees on dissolving the Assembly or inviting voters to vote in elections, but only before the elections and not after, which has been the case. The court can accept petitions against such decrees within seven days of their publication and must issue its verdict within 10 days and before the election date.

This means the constitutional court will have no powers to nullify parliamentary elections as it did on two occasions in 2012 and a third time in March this year, when it nullified the Sept 2022 elections and dissolved the National Assembly, which resulted in holding fresh polls in June. MPs hailed the amendments as the first real step toward political reforms. MP Mohammad Al-Huwailah said amending the constitutional court law is a true political reform move and a step in the right direction for political stability.

MP Abdulwahab Al-Essa said approving the legislation is a popular and parliamentary victory and will safeguard the judiciary from being a party to political disputes. MP Dawood Marafie said the amendments will protect the Assembly against dissolution by court. Assembly speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun said he will invite lawmakers for a special session on Thursday to debate a second key political reform law — the establishment of the higher election commission. Before passing the constitutional court legislation, MPs continued to debate the Amiri address which was delivered at the opening session of the new Assembly.

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