Opposition candidates blast dissolved Assembly

Abdulhameed Dashti Abdulhameed Dashti

KUWAIT: The court of cassation yesterday ruled former MP Abdulhameed Dashti cannot run in the parliamentary elections on Nov 26 for filing his registration papers while he was outside the country. Dashti has been living in Britain since March, and asked his elder son to file his nomination papers. The election authorities rejected them, but the lower court ordered them to accept his registration after he produced a medical certificate saying he is undergoing treatment and cannot travel.

Last week, the appeals court overturned that ruling and said candidates must submit their registration papers in person. The cassation court yesterday upheld the ruling. Dashti acknowledged the ruling and said this was not the end of the road. Kuwaiti courts have sentenced Dashti to 31 years and six months in jail for insulting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in statements he made and in comments he wrote on Twitter.

The government meanwhile challenged appeals court rulings that allowed a number of candidates, including former MP Safa Al-Hashem, to run in the polls. Hashem was among 47 candidates barred by the election authorities for not fulfilling registration conditions or for being previously convicted in court. The courts have already reinstated several candidates, and are still looking into the cases of others.

Separately, former opposition MPs who are running in the election strongly lashed out at members of the dissolved Assembly, blaming them for failing to defend the rights of the Kuwaiti people. Speaking at an election gathering, former Islamist MP Bader Al-Dahoum urged voters not to vote for any of those members, saying that they had approved a large number of very dangerous and antisocial laws. Dahoum, who was speaking at the election headquarters of former Islamist opposition MP Osama Al-Munawer, urged those who win in the elections not to vote for Marzouq Al-Ghanem as the next speaker, adding that he will not vote for him if elected.

Former Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei also urged voters to vote for good candidates who will serve the interests of the people. He said a law passed by the previous Assembly to bar those convicted over religious offences and insulting HH the Amir from public office was especially designed to prevent former opposition MP Musallam Al-Barrak, currently in jail, from contesting the polls. Tabtabaei also strongly condemned some members of the previous house on their position on the trial of 25 Kuwaitis and an Iranian for spying for Iran and Hezbollah.

Candidate Saud Busaleeb charged that the government's economic reform plan is a cover to end subsidies on commodities and services and this will result in increasing the financial burden on citizens. Former MP Adnan Abdulsamad defended the dissolved Assembly, saying that it made some great achievements and people opposed to it are essentially against the single-vote election system. Abdulsamad said that people are becoming increasingly frustrated from the election process because of repeated polls, as this will be the seventh general elections in a decade.

By B Izzak