Con­sti­tu­tional court throws out pe­ti­tion against elec­tion

Op­po­si­tion raises stakes

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

The con­sti­tu­tional court yes­ter­day threw out a pe­ti­tion call­ing to call off the Nov 26 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion be­cause the Amiri de­cree dis­solv­ing the Na­tional As­sem­bly last month was not in line with the constitution. The re­jec­tion came af­ter a meet­ing of the court’s con­sul­tants’ panel, which stud­ies con­sti­tu­tional pe­ti­tions to see if they are cred­i­ble to go to the judges or should be thrown out with­out de­bate.

The pe­ti­tion was sub­mit­ted by lawyer-can­di­date Hani Hus­sein, who was barred from run­ning in the polls by the elec­tion com­mit­tee for be­ing pre­vi­ously con­victed by courts. The com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion was up­held by the courts. The con­sti­tu­tional court said that the law al­lows peo­ple to di­rectly file pe­ti­tions at the con­sti­tu­tional court against laws and leg­is­la­tions, but not against Amiri de­crees. It added that since Hus­sein’s pe­ti­tion deals with an Amiri de­cree, it can­not be de­bated by the con­sti­tu­tional court. Com­ment­ing on the de­ci­sion, Hus­sein said on his Twit­ter ac­count that he plans to re­sub­mit the pe­ti­tion af­ter the elec­tion to chal­lenge the elec­tion process and re­sults.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the de­ci­sion by the cas­sa­tion court to bar 21 can­di­dates from elec­tion was crit­i­cized by a num­ber of top le­gal ex­perts, who said the court should have al­lowed the can­di­dates to run in the polls while it dis­cussed their cases. The only hope for the can­di­dates who in­clude for­mer MPs Safa Al-Hashem and Bader Al-Da­houm and the only rul­ing fam­ily mem­ber in the race, Sheikh Malek Al-Hu­moud Al-Sabah, is for the court to study the sub­ject of their cases be­fore the elec­tion on Satur­day. A num­ber of le­gal ex­perts said that if some of the barred can­di­dates win the cases in the cas­sa­tion court, the elec­tion process could be re­peated or they can de­mand huge com­pen­sa­tions from the govern­ment. Mean­while, op­po­si­tion can­di­dates raised the stakes dur­ing their fi­nal elec­tion ral­lies in the past few days ahead of the week­end polls by call­ing for fun­da­men­tal changes in­clud­ing chang­ing the prime min­is­ter. Lead­ing op­po­si­tion fig­ure and for­mer Is­lamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said the op­po­si­tion is de­mand­ing a “new govern­ment, a new strat­egy and a new prime min­is­ter”.

Speak­ing at his elec­tion rally, Tabtabaei said that the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the present Prime Min­is­ter HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah “are be­low the am­bi­tions of the Kuwaiti peo­ple”. “We call on HH the Amir to select the most com­pe­tent per­son among the rul­ing fam­ily or from the Kuwaiti peo­ple,” Tabtabaei said. The call was sup­ported by sev­eral op­po­si­tion fig­ures in­clud­ing for­mer Is­lamist MP Ja­maan Al-Har­bash, who said “we will de­mand a new prime min­is­ter if we get elected”.

Can­di­date Al-Hu­maidi Al-Subaie charged the govern­ment on Mon­day of us­ing the re­vo­ca­tion of cit­i­zen­ships as a weapon against its op­po­nents. For­mer MP Ah­mad Al-Qud­haibi charged the govern­ment at an elec­tion rally of pro­tect­ing cor­rup­tion and the cor­rupt, adding that the Kuwaiti peo­ple are pay­ing the cost of the in­ter­nal feuds within mem­bers of the rul­ing fam­ily. He said the ef­fects of these in­ter­nal dis­putes have neg­a­tively im­pacted the func­tion­ing of the leg­isla­tive and ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties, and also the govern­ment.

For­mer MP Mo­ham­mad Al-Mu­tair said Kuwait passed through a very dif­fi­cult phase in the past five years, adding that Kuwait used to be an ex­am­ple for democ­racy in the past but things have changed and forces of cor­rup­tion have started to neg­a­tively in­flu­ence it. He said that thefts and graft in the coun­try are be­ing com­mit­ted in broad day­light and the pre­vi­ous As­sem­bly was deeply in­volved in cor­rup­tion.

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