Op­po­si­tion can­di­dates vow to grill in­te­rior min­is­ter

Cam­paigns end today Can­di­date wants no Govt health­care for ex­pats

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By B Iz­zak By A Saleh

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.

KUWAIT:

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.

Pros­per­ity In­dex

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

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