Assembly will likely be dissolved ‘within days’
Former MP Sawwagh dies in hospital, MoH opens probe
KUWAIT: The National Assembly will most likely be dissolved “within days”, veteran MP Khalaf Dumaitheer said yesterday, as a number of lawmakers and parliamentary sources said an Amiri decree could be issued to dissolve the house on Sunday. “There are strong indications that the National Assembly will be dissolved very soon,” the pro-government Dumaitheer told reporters as he came out of the speaker’s office. “I think the decision will be issued within days. I have already taken away some of my belongings from my office,” he said. “The next supper of the two authorities - Assembly and government - will be the last one,” the lawmaker added.
Dumaitheer’s statements came following threats by a large number of lawmakers to file requests to grill ministers, mainly the finance minister, over the decision to hike petrol prices. After MP Ahmad Al-Qudhaibi filed a request to grill justice minister Yacoub AlSane over the delay in issuing bylaws of the Anti-Corruption Authority, a number of MPs have vowed to submit more grillings.
MPs Ali Al-Khamees, Abdullah Al-Turaiji and Ahmad AlAzemi, who said they plan to grill Finance Minister Anas AlSaleh, are expected to file their request tomorrow. MP Faisal Al-Kandari also plans to file his grilling request against the finance minister soon. MP Jamal Al-Omar was said to be preparing a third grilling against Saleh, with MPs Saleh Ashour and Hamdan Al-Azemi. The lawmaker said there will be a big surprise at the Assembly, without providing further details. All the grillings center on the issue of petrol prices, which were hiked from the start of September by between 40 percent and 80 percent, sparking angry reactions from lawmakers.
A deal reached between the government and a number of MPs to grant every Kuwaiti 75 liters of free petrol every month failed to contain popular and parliamentary anger against the government.
The mood at the Assembly appeared to anticipate the end of the road for the Assembly that was elected in July 2013 after adopting for the second time the controversial one-vote electoral system that led the opposition to boycott the second parliamentary election in a row. The Assembly completes its normal four-year term in July. If HH the Amir dissolves the Assembly as expected, fresh elections must be held within 60 days and the new Assembly must hold its first session within two weeks after the election results. Some of the opposition groups, especially the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), have decided to end their boycott to the polls and are expected to field candidates.
Meanwhile, former Islamist opposition MP Falah AlSawwagh died yesterday after undergoing surgery at a local hospital, after which he felt severe cardiac pain. His condition deteriorated after a liposuction at the Babtain hospital for burns and plastic surgeries, and Sawwagh breathed his last in the ICU. He was 56. The Ministry of Health has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sawwagh, it said in a statement. The statement urged people not to speculate on the cause of the former MP’s death until the investigation is completed, and conveyed deepest condolences to his family.
Sawwagh was elected to the National Assembly for the first time in 2009 and was reelected in Feb 2012. But he boycotted as part of the opposition the following two polls in protest against the change in the voting system. Sawwagh previously worked for the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), amongst other institutions.