Amir in­structs premier to re-ex­am­ine DNA test law

Royal files to con­test elec­tion Can­di­dates blast dis­solved As­sem­bly

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

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.

— Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

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.

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