Con­sti­tu­tional court ac­cepts pe­ti­tion against elec­tions

Op­po­si­tion can­di­dates de­mand po­lit­i­cal re­forms

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: The con­sti­tu­tional court yes­ter­day ac­cepted a pe­ti­tion call­ing for scrap­ping the Nov 26 gen­eral elec­tions on the ba­sis that the Amiri de­cree dis­solv­ing the Na­tional As­sem­bly was not in line with the con­sti­tu­tion. The pe­ti­tion was filed by lawyer Hani Hussein, who was barred from con­test­ing the polls by the elec­tion com­mit­tee for be­ing pre­vi­ously con­victed by courts. Hussein did not elab­o­rate on the pe­ti­tion ex­cept by say­ing that it was ac­cepted by the court, whose de­ci­sions are final. He how­ever said he will ex­plain the na­ture of his pe­ti­tion at an elec­tion rally to­day.

Ac­cep­tance of the con­sti­tu­tional pe­ti­tion does not give the chal­lenge any cred­i­bil­ity, but it means that the court found the ar­gu­ments are le­gal and can be de­bated. No date has been set by the court for any hear­ing. In his re­quest, the lawyer claimed that the Amiri de­cree dis­solv­ing the As­sem­bly was not con­sti­tu­tional, and ac­cord­ingly the elec­tion must be called off and the dis­solved As­sem­bly re­in­stated. Hussein last week promised a “big sur­prise” that could lead to de­lay­ing the elec­tion. Many com­men­ta­tors saw the pe­ti­tion as a very nor­mal move that is likely to lead nowhere.

Sep­a­rately, the court of cas­sa­tion, whose rul­ings are final, is ex­pected to de­ter­mine the fate of 17 can­di­dates this week. These can­di­dates are among 47 hope­fuls dis­qual­i­fied by the elec­tion com­mit­tee. A num­ber of them have been re­in­stated, while oth­ers have been dis­barred, in­clud­ing for­mer MP Ab­dul­hameed Dashti, who has been liv­ing abroad since March.

Mean­while, can­di­dates are rush­ing with their final elec­tion ral­lies this week be­fore a cam­paign­ing em­bargo starts at the week­end ahead of Satur­day’s polls.

Among those plan­ning to speak this week is for­mer As­sem­bly speaker Mar­zouq Al-Ghanem, who was strongly crit­i­cized by op­po­si­tion can­di­dates for lead­ing the pre­vi­ous As­sem­bly that is­sued a num­ber of highly un­pop­u­lar leg­is­la­tions.

Al­ready, sev­eral can­di­dates have said they will chal­lenge Ghanem for the speaker’s post in the next As­sem­bly. They in­clude op­po­si­tion can­di­date and for­mer MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri. For­mer vet­eran MPs Ab­dul­lah Al-Roumi, who once served as deputy speaker, and for­mer MP Ah­mad Al-Mu­laifi, a for­mer ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, have said they will run for the speaker’s post if they are elected.

Op­po­si­tion can­di­dates are hold­ing at least two huge ral­lies tonight with sev­eral op­po­si­tion fig­ures due to speak. More op­po­si­tion ral­lies are also planned in the com­ing few days. Op­po­si­tion can­di­dates have been tar­get­ing In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­ham­mad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and warn­ing that they will be tough against him if they get elected. For­mer op­po­si­tion MP Mubarak Al-Waalan warned the min­is­ter that “real men” will be elected to the As­sem­bly, who will hold him ac­count­able for re­vok­ing cit­i­zen­ships and other op­pres­sive mea­sures.

Lib­eral for­mer MP Rakan Al-Nasef said the next stage re­quires more po­lit­i­cal re­forms, mainly amend­ing the elec­toral law and ap­prov­ing the leg­is­la­tion for the independence of the ju­di­ciary. He said that a new elec­toral law must be en­acted with the ap­proval of the law­mak­ers and the sup­port of the peo­ple.

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