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Saadoun to contest speaker’s post; first poll challenge filed

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Former National Assembly speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun said late Wednesday he will contest the speaker’s post for the new Assembly. Saadoun, 89, was speaker of the 2022 Assembly which was nullified by the constitutional court on March 19, leading to Tuesday’s polls, in which so-called reformists scored a landslide victory. Two MPs from the reformist group, Mohammad Al-Mutair, who was deputy speaker of the 2022 Assembly, and Marzouq Al-Hubaini, announced they will contest the post.

It was not immediately known if others will contest. The elections of the speaker, deputy speaker and Assembly committees will be held on the inaugural day on June 20, immediately after formal speeches by HH the Amir, HH the Prime Minister and the lawmaker chairing the session, who is usually the eldest one. MP Mohammad Hayef invited new MPs to an informal meeting on Sunday to discuss coordination and the election of Assembly panels. Hayef also announced plans to revive the parliamentary negative phenomena committee.

“The committee will discuss all matters related to moralities, Islamic identity and corruption in ministries and public affairs,” he said. Meanwhile, the constitutional court received on Thursday the first challenge to the 2023 parliamentary elections. More petitions are expected, especially related to claims about the counting of votes. Former MP Obaid Al-Wasmi said on Thursday he will not challenge the results of elections even if he gets a document proving he has won a seat. Wasmi lost the election on Wednesday.

Lawyer Hani Hussein filed the challenge, claiming that an Amiri decree allowing voters to vote on the basis of their residential addresses specified in their civil IDs is not in line with the constitution. The constitutional court on March 19 annulled the entire 2022 parliamentary elections and the parliament on the basis of a petition challenging the legality of the Amiri decree that dissolved the 2020 National Assembly. The court in 2012 nullified two elections and scrapped both parliaments on the basis of “illegal” decrees.

Many MPs have demanded to amend a law governing the constitutional court to limit its powers in nullifying parliamentary elections. Former Assembly Speaker (2013-2022) Marzouq Al-Ghanem said he will remain loyal to all political values he holds, which call for stability, welfare of the people and the progress and development of the country. Ghanem did not contest the Sept 2022 elections.

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