The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem said yesterday he has invited MPs and the government for a special meeting on Thursday to debate the financial status of the country. During the session, Minister of Finance Khalifa Hamada is expected to brief the Assembly on the sovereign wealth fund, which holds assets estimated at under $600 billion and the state reserve fund which the government claims is cash-strapped.

The session used to be held ahead of debating and approving the state budget, but this year the session was delayed because of the disputes between opposition MPs and the government. Last week, Ghanem called for a special session to debate the state budget and the meeting witnessed unprecedented scenes between opposition and pro-government MPs.

At the same time, opposition MPs are scheduled to meet today to discuss the course of action and whether to submit a number of motions to debate key issues in the next Assembly session scheduled for July 6. MP Mohammad Al-Rasheedi said he will host the evening meeting of the opposition for "consultations and coordination".

Opposition lawmakers are contemplating a number of issues including the grilling of ministers, amending a law that currently punishes politicians for life if they are convicted of insulting religions and HH the Amir, a law proposing to amend the election law and the resignation of MP Yousef Al-Fadhalah.

The opposition is preparing to demand holding a special session to debate those issues but leading opposition MP Obaid Al-Wasmi said that no motion has been submitted yet and the opposition will decide the next course of action at the scheduled meeting.

Opposition MP Muhannad Al-Sayer meanwhile said he has prepared a motion calling to give priority to debating the grilling of ministers ahead of that of HH the prime minister. He said that a number of MPs have signed the motion and others will follow. He said that he is proposing to debate the grillings of ministers during the regular session on July 6.