Amnesty sought for Tabtabaei, Harbash - Subaei preparing to grill Roudhan

KUWAIT: It appears the next National Assembly term promises to witness a number of political crises between the opposition and the government that are likely to strain relations between the two authorities. One of the main problems is the issue of revoking the membership of two leading opposition lawmakers - Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Jamaan Al-Harbash - who were handed jail terms for storming the Assembly building.

The jail terms against the two lawmakers, along with several ex-MPs and opposition activists, were confirmed by the court of cassation, whose rulings are final and cannot be challenged. Constitutional experts differ on what should be done against the two lawmakers - some have said their membership should be revoked after they were convicted with a final jail term, while others say that they should continue to enjoy their parliamentary seats.

Opposition MPs have stressed that the membership of the two MPs should not be revoked and have already submitted a draft law for an amnesty to pardon them and others. The Assembly's legislative committee will meet on Oct 28, just two days before the Assembly reconvenes, to study the bill and submit its report to the Assembly for voting. The issue will be discussed in what is expected to be a heated debate.

Pro-government MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl said yesterday that he intends to vote against the two lawmakers, who he said should lose their seats in the Assembly because they had been convicted of a criminal offense. He said that the law is very clear on this issue and called for revoking their membership in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, opposition MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaie has completed preparations of a grilling he plans to file against Commerce and Industry Minister Khaled Al-Roudhan over a series of alleged violations. According to parliamentary sources, Subaei is coordinating with MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf, who has announced that he will file to grill Roudhan over other violations. The two are expected to grill the minister together.

But the grilling will be filed only after the planned grilling against the prime minister, which is expected to be debated in the first session of the next term on Oct 30. Opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani has already filed a grilling against Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Adel Al-Khorafi over alleged administrative violations.

By B Izzak