'Court allows Dashti to contest polls; Rashed not running'

KUWAIT: The interior ministry is working on a new draft bill amending DNA law 78/2015, responding to directives by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah made the statement as he briefed a Cabinet meeting yesterday on the ministry's efforts to implement the Amir's directives. The meeting was held at Kuwait International Airport and chaired by HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

The law has not yet been put into effect, Sheikh Mohammad stressed, pointing out that Amiri directives have always embodied the civilized and humanitarian considerations HH the Amir advocates, and is keen on committing to them. The ministry has already begun providing the human and technical requirements for the law that will continue for two years, Sheikh Mohammad said. He emphasized keenness on preserving people's freedoms and privacy, in line with the constitution, laws and the genuine principles and values of the Kuwaiti society.

Separately, in a surprising ruling, the administrative court said former MP Abdulhameed Dashti, who is currently living abroad and has received jail terms of more than 31 years, can run in the coming election and ordered the interior ministry to accept his papers. The government immediately filed an objection against the ruling at the court, which means that Dashti cannot file his nomination papers until the court has reviewed the objection.

Dashti's elder son Talal tried a few days ago to register for his father based on a power of attorney, but the election department rejected his papers. He then filed a lawsuit at the court demanding to be allowed to file them. In its landmark ruling, the court said Dashti cannot come to the country to register in person because he was advised by doctors against travelling as he is receiving treatment.

The court ordered that the former lawmaker be allowed to register for the election immediately, but the government immediately objected to the verdict. Dashti was handed sentences of 31 years and six months in jail for insulting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. He has been living outside Kuwait since March.

Meanwhile, 30 new candidates filed their nomination papers yesterday to raise the number of those expected to contest the 50 seats of the National Assembly to 321. But former Assembly speaker and veteran lawmaker Ali Al-Rashed said yesterday he has decided not to contest the Nov 26 elections. Rashed said he has taken the decision after consultations and thorough studies. He said he prefers to leave the fray for others, and called on Kuwaiti voters to elect the best candidates.

The former lawmaker was elected speaker of the Assembly elected in Dec 2012, which was dissolved by the constitutional court six months later because of procedural flaws. He was elected an MP in the July 2013 election but failed in the race for speakership to Marzouq Al-Ghanem. Rashed reigned his membership in the previous Assembly following a crisis over grillings.

Among the main candidates who signed up yesterday are former member of the dissolved Assembly Abdullah Abul and former Islamist MP Khaled Al-Shulaimi. Only three days are remaining for the registration of candidates as the door for registration will close on Friday.

By B Izzak