Opposition candidates vow to grill interior minister
Campaigns end today Candidate wants no Govt healthcare for expats
Candidates running for the national assembly election on Saturday will make their final election rallies today ahead of the polls silence the following day. So far, 287 hopefuls including 13 women are left in the race while the cassation court is still reviewing the cases of 21 candidates who have been disqualified by the election committee and the cassation court prevented their reinstatement until it issues its verdicts.
The court, whose rulings are final, met for several hours yesterday and decided that it will issue its verdicts on all the cases today. Those barred include former MPs Safa AlHashem and Bader Al-Dahoum. Originally, the election committee disqualified 47 candidates and only cases reached the court of cassation.
In the meantime, the election campaign became very intense in the past few days with opposition hopefuls and pro-government candidates trading accusations of corruption and conspiracies. Opposition candidates focused their attention on members of the previous assembly and its speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem and urged the voters not to allow any of the previous assembly members to come back.
They accused them of being a rubber stamp for the government which passed a large number of legislation without any resistance. Ghanem hit back at an election rally on Tuesday saying he was the target of a gang that has been plotting to take over the government accusing two senior members of the ruling family of masterminding the gang.
The opposition has started a campaign against the election of Ghanem as a speaker for the next assembly and several candidates have already pledged to vote against him. The opposition has also strongly criticized Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and two leading opposition candidates and former MPs Mubarak Al-Waalan and Salem Al-Namlan already vowed that they will grill him if they get elected. Waalan accused the interior minister of revoking the citizenships of several opposition figures and their families and for deporting Saad Al-Ajmi after stripping him of his nationality.
In the meantime, candidate Sami AlDabbous called on the government to stop providing healthcare for expatriates at public hospitals and replace it with a health insurance scheme. The candidate said that every expatriate in Kuwait costs the health system KD 562 per year and they pay only KD 52 to the government.
Dabbous did not say how he reached these calculations because they appear to be highly exaggerated. Based on his calculations, the cost of the healthcare for expats will be close to KD 1.8 billion per year which is far above the health ministry budget even without including the expenses of Kuwaiti citizens.
A number of candidates have called for depriving expatriates of several services and stop giving them government jobs or reduce their numbers in the country as a means of winning more votes in the election.
Kuwaiti businesswoman and honorary member of the Saudi Al-Nasser club Khawla AlHasawi that she wants to buy shares in the club following the decision to privatize Saudi clubs. She said she needs some time to finalize an investment method that conforms to the rules issued by the Public Authority for Sports. The Saudi cabinet recently approved the privatization of sports clubs in the kingdom. The head of the Saudi Public Sports Authority Prince Abdullah bin Musaed has said only Saudis can buy into the clubs.
Kuwait ranked 71st and 5th among Arab countries on the Legatum Prosperity Index Ranking 2016, which covered 149 countries. The indices covered included quality of economy, business environment, governance, education, health, stability, personal freedom, social capital, and nature environment. Qatar is ranked second among Arab countries and 46 internationally, ahead of Bahrain (67), Oman (70), Saudi Arabia (85) and Yemen (149).
KUWAIT: Minister of Electricity and Water and Acting Public Works Minister Ahmad Al-Jassar (center) and other officials are seen during the road’s inauguration ceremony. —Photos by Joseph Shagra