Un­ruf­fled Ghanem hits back at crit­ics, lists achieve­ments

Ex-speaker charges he is be­ing tar­geted by a gang

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

KUWAIT:

Speaker of the dis­solved Na­tional As­sem­bly Mar­zouq Al-Ghanem, un­der fire by lead­ing op­po­si­tion fig­ures, yes­ter­day hit back in a com­posed but fiery speech, charg­ing he is be­ing tar­geted by a “gang plot­ting to cap­ture the govern­ment”. Ghanem, a mem­ber of one of Kuwait’s top busi­ness fam­i­lies, was elected speaker of the 2013 As­sem­bly, which was dis­solved by HH the Amir last month af­ter a dis­pute with the govern­ment over hik­ing petrol prices.

A large num­ber of op­po­si­tion can­di­dates and their sup­port­ers have made Ghanem their top elec­tion tar­get, as many can­di­dates said they will not vote for him for the speak­er­ship of the next As­sem­bly, which will be elected on Nov 26. But Ghanem’s re­sponse was equally dev­as­tat­ing. At a lengthy elec­tion rally speech that lasted for well over two hours, Ghanem dis­played of­fi­cial doc­u­ments show­ing his op­po­nents con­spir­ing against him and even against the coun­try. He did not name any­one, but made a very ex­plicit ref­er­ence to two lead­ing mem­bers of the rul­ing fam­ily, with whom he has been at log­ger­heads for a very long time.

“I am fac­ing on your be­half and on be­half of the Kuwaiti peo­ple the head of the snake and his part­ner ... I am con­fronting the thief of the oil tanker com­pany” dur­ing the Iraqi in­va­sion in 1990-91, he said. Ghanem charged that his op­po­nents have been hatch­ing con­spir­a­cies through so­cial net­works and fak­ing videos in “op­er­a­tion rooms” to dis­credit their op­po­nents. “These peo­ple have no fear of Al­lah. They have no val­ues,” Ghanem charged.

The for­mer speaker said he will not back down re­gard­less of the strength of his en­e­mies. He also al­leged state se­cu­rity was spy­ing on his phone. The op­po­si­tion and its sup­port­ers ac­cuse Ghanem of lead­ing a rub­ber­stamp As­sem­bly that com­pletely sur­ren­dered to the govern­ment and is­sued highly un­pop­u­lar leg­is­la­tions and de­ci­sions like re­duc­ing sub­si­dies to boost non-oil rev­enues af­ter oil prices plunged. But Ghanem de­tailed the achieve­ments of the pre­vi­ous As­sem­bly, say­ing it passed 114 laws, the high­est num­ber of leg­is­la­tions passed since the first As­sem­bly in 1963, in­clud­ing found­ing the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Author­ity, the con­sumer pro­tec­tion law, the BOT law, re­tirees’ health in­sur­ance and a law that al­lowed in­di­vid­u­als to file cases at the con­sti­tu­tional court.

Re­spond­ing to fresh ac­cu­sa­tions made by the op­po­si­tion just a few min­utes be­fore he started his speech, Ghanem said he has asked the An­ti­Cor­rup­tion Author­ity to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a sus­pected scam in­volv­ing him.

KUWAIT: (Left) For­mer par­lia­ment speaker Mar­zouq Al-Ghanem speaks dur­ing a cam­paign rally in Ab­dul­lah Al-Salem yes­ter­day. (Right) Kuwait Times Deputy Edi­tor-in-Chief Dr Ziad Al-Alyan (right) is seen with col­leagues at the rally. — Pho­tos by Yasser Al-Zayyat By Nawara Fat­ta­hova

KUWAIT: Peo­ple at­tend a cam­paign rally of can­di­date and for­mer par­lia­ment speaker Mar­zouq Al-Ghanem in Ab­dul­lah Al-Salem yes­ter­day. — Pho­tos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: In­te­rior Min­istry’s Un­der­sec­re­tary Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Suleiman Al-Fa­had met yes­ter­day with Saad Mo­ham­mad Al-Mu­tairi, Chair­man of the Board of Di­rec­tors of Ash­biliya Co-op­er­a­tive So­ci­ety, as well as mem­bers of the board and the Ash­biliya Vol­un­tary Work Com­mit­tee.

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