Amir instructs premier to re-examine DNA test law
Royal files to contest election Candidates blast dissolved Assembly
HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday ordered HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to review the controversial DNA law that was passed by the National Assembly earlier this year that required all citizens, expats and visitors to undergo mandatory DNA tests. The Amir said the revision must safeguard people’s privacy. HH the Amir also instructed the premier that the re-examination of the law should be in a manner that would serve public interests, social security and the objective that had been set for drafting it.
Meanwhile, in a rare event of its kind, a member of the ruling Al-Sabah family was among 71 candidates who filed nomination papers to stand for the 50-seat Assembly elections on the first day of candidate registrations. Sheikh Malek Al-Humoud Al-Sabah criticized the outgoing Assembly for failing to protect the interests of Kuwaiti people and said he has decided to run as an ordinary Kuwaiti citizen to defend the interests of the people. He said he had given up his special passport for a regular one and that he does not mind losing other benefits.
Sheikh Malek said that the constitution does not bar ruling family members from contesting parliamentary polls and they are considered similar to other Kuwaiti citizens. Only a handful of ruling family members have filed to run in elections during Kuwait’s 54 years of parliamentary democracy. However, all of them dropped out of the race before the elections were held. The last royal to register his candidacy was Sheikh Fahd Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah, who withdrew before the 2006 election.
Sheikh Malek said he is determined to fight the election battle until the end and is ready for any outcome.
The first day of registration did not see the return of opposition groups that had boycotted polls since Dec 2012, but at least two former opposition MPs - Marzouq Al-Hubaini and Fahd Al-Khanna - registered as candidates. At least 14 of the 50 members of the dissolved Assembly filed yesterday for re-election. They include the three outgoing Cabinet ministers Ali Al-Omair, Yaqoub Al-Sane and Essa Al-Kandari. They also include Jamal Al-Omar, Saadoun Hammad, Faisal Al-Duwaisan, Yousef Al-Zalzalah and Abdullah Al-Turaiji.
A large number of candidates blasted the outgoing Assembly as weak and for having passed several unconstitutional legislations like the DNA law. Candidate Hamad AlTuwaijri said the outgoing Assembly failed to protect the interests of the Kuwaiti people. Former MP Emad AlMutawa said the coming election is crucial and the next Assembly will be a “tough” one. Former MP Roudhan AlRoudhan acknowledged that the people were upset by the Assembly and expected an up to 70 percent turnover.
Many candidates expected economic issues to top the election campaigns, which will start next week. Former MP Faisal Al-Kandari said any economic reform must not be at the expense of the Kuwaiti people, “not now and not any time in the future”. Former liberal MP Rakan AlNasef said the Assembly needs political groups to defend the interests of the people. Former MP and minister Ahmad Al-Mulaifi said the country is experiencing a situation that pleases no one, especially after corruption reached the Assembly, after it was limited to the government in the past.
Deputy director of the election department Col Salah Al-Shatti said there are 483,186 eligible voters, of whom 252,756 or 52.3 percent are women and 230,430 voters or 47.7 percent are men. Candidate registration will end on Oct 28 and the coming few days are expected to witness the return of a large number of leading opposition figures.
KUWAIT: Candidates register for the upcoming parliamentary elections yesterday. (Inset) Ruling family member Sheikh Malek Al-Humoud Al-Sabah files to run in the polls.