Barred can­di­date claims elec­tion could be de­layed

Cam­paign­ing in­ten­si­fies

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT:

Lawyer Hani Hus­sein, whose can­di­dacy for the par­lia­men­tary polls was re­jected by the ap­peals court yes­ter­day, said a “big sur­prise” could de­lay the Nov 26 elec­tion. Writ­ing on his Twit­ter ac­count, Hus­sein de­clined to re­veal the na­ture of the sur­prise, but said it re­lates to a pro­vi­sion in the elec­tion law, adding he has drawn the at­ten­tion of the court to this pro­vi­sion. He said that if his ar­gu­ment is ac­cepted by the court, it will lead to de­lay­ing the par­lia­men­tary elec­tion and re­in­stat­ing the 2013 Na­tional Assem­bly which was dis­solved last month. Hus­sein said the rul­ing of the court on his pe­ti­tion is sched­uled for Sun­day.

The ap­peals court up­held a rul­ing by the lower court which dis­qual­i­fied Hus­sein from run­ning in the elec­tion for be­ing con­victed by the court. The orig­i­nal de­ci­sion was taken by a com­mit­tee formed by the in­te­rior min­istry to re­view nom­i­na­tion pa­pers of all can­di­dates. That com­mit­tee barred 47 can­di­dates in­clud­ing Hus­sein, for­mer MP Ab­dul­hameed Dashti and oth­ers. A num­ber of th­ese can­di­dates have al­ready been re­in­stated by the court, while oth­ers re­main barred.

Be­sides Hus­sein, two other can­di­dates were re­jected by the ap­peals court, while for­mer op­po­si­tion Is­lamist MP Bader Al-Da­houm was re­in­stated as a can­di­date af­ter the elec­tion com­mit­tee had barred him. Hus­sein also said that he and Dashti have chal­lenged the for­ma­tion of the elec­tion com­mit­tee be­fore the ad­min­is­tra­tive court and the rul­ing is ex­pected to­day. He said that if the court re­jects their ar­gu­ment, he will lodge an ap­peal. It was dif­fi­cult to as­sess the le­gal merit of Hus­sein’s bat­tle in court and his claims, be­cause he did not re­veal the na­ture of his ar­gu­ment.

Mean­while, the elec­tion cam­paign has in­ten­si­fied among op­po­si­tion groups and mem­bers, for­mer MPs, tribes and even re­li­gious sects as elec­tion day ap­proaches. Another bat­tle is be­ing fought pre­ma­turely for the speak­er­ship of the next Assem­bly, as for­mer speaker Mar­zouq Al-Ghanem is bid­ding for another term.

For­mer min­is­ter and lead­ing op­po­si­tion fig­ure Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said that he plans to con­test the post of speaker if he gets elected, while op­po­si­tion can­di­dates are sign­ing a char­ter call­ing among other things for can­di­dates to pledge they will not elect Ghanem as speaker if they get elected to the house. For­mer ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Ah­mad Al-Mu­laifi also an­nounced that he will con­test the post of speaker if he gets elected. Also, vet­eran par­lia­men­tar­ian Ab­dul­lah Al-Roumi, who served for a term as deputy speaker, is ex­pected to con­test the po­si­tion, al­though he has not an­nounced it yet.

Al­though the speaker of the next Assem­bly largely de­pends on the out­come of the elec­tion, the govern­ment plays a de­ci­sive role in the speaker’s elec­tion, be­cause it can eas­ily tilt the bal­ance in any­one’s fa­vor. The govern­ment has 16 Cab­i­net min­is­ters who en­joy full vot­ing rights al­though a ma­jor­ity of them are un­elected, in ad­di­tion to a num­ber of law­mak­ers who nor­mally sup­port the govern­ment. Ac­cord­ingly, un­less the op­po­si­tion scores a re­sound­ing vic­tory like the one in Feb 2012, the speaker will be de­ter­mined by the govern­ment, and will most likely be Ghanem.

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