Speak­er­ship elec­tions

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Dr Has­san Jouhar

Due to po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, I be­lieve that the gov­ern­ment must re­frain from tak­ing part in the speak­er­ship elec­tions and be com­pletely neu­tral. Talk­ing about min­is­ters’ con­sti­tu­tional right to vote is fu­tile for the same rea­sons. They can also ab­stain from vot­ing, which is purely an un­ques­tion­able con­sti­tu­tional prac­tice. The gov­ern­ment’s neu­tral­ity in the speak­er­ship elec­tions pri­mar­ily pro­tects it and the prin­ci­ple of sep­a­ra­tion between the leg­isla­tive and ex­ec­u­tive au­thor­i­ties. Since 1963, the gov­ern­ment’s role has raised so many ques­tions, and min­is­ter’s vot­ing has fre­quently been used in the op­po­site direc­tion of the leg­isla­tive au­thor­ity’s ten­den­cies. More­over, it is meant to strike par­lia­men­tary ma­jori­ties.

On the other hand, a par­lia­men­tar­ian who wins the speak­er­ship through min­is­ters’ votes re­mains in­debted to the gov­ern­ment and may di­rect the en­tire par­lia­ment ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment’s wishes. The gov­ern­ment’s neu­tral­ity is a must in or­der to show more re­spect to the peo­ple’s will, through which 50 mem­bers were elected and au­tho­rized to act on peo­ple’s be­half. This be­came very clear in the re­cent elec­tions when over 70 per­cent of vot­ers took part. In ad­di­tion, the re­cent elec­tion be­ing the sev­enth in 13 years, the gov­ern­ment was the only one re­spon­si­ble for dis­solv­ing the par­lia­ment or for run­ning un­con­sti­tu­tional elec­tions, which led to an­nulling the par­lia­ments of 2012 and 2013. Vot­ers were fu­ri­ous about the 2013 par­lia­ment’s per­for­mance and de­scribed it as the gov­ern­ment’s par­lia­ment be­cause it was too peace­ful, fawn­ing, and passed all the gov­ern­ment’s projects with­out dis­cus­sion or hes­i­ta­tion. It was also re­spon­si­ble for com­mit­ting un­prece­dented con­sti­tu­tional vi­o­la­tions to pro­tect the prime min­is­ter and cabi­net mem­bers from po­lit­i­cal ac­count­abil­ity through writ­ing off grilling mo­tions. The mes­sage was clear and the elec­tion re­sults opened new hori­zons for restor­ing the par­lia­ment’s pres­tige and sta­tus, which proves that the gov­ern­ment no longer acts as a guardian to the par­lia­ment on its ses­sions.

More­over, ask­ing Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak to form the new cabi­net it­self is con­sid­ered as a potential po­lit­i­cal cri­sis. He and his cabi­net mem­bers’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in the speak­er­ship elec­tions might cre­ate a con­fronta­tion about it soon.

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