Opposition disunity exposed after speakership setbacks
Constitutional expert says Assembly could be dissolved
KUWAIT: A number of opposition MPs stunned by the massive defeat in the speakership election charged that around 11 lawmakers who had joined the opposition MPs’ meeting betrayed their pledge. Islamist opposition MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said these MPs will be exposed to the people after betraying their promises. A number of opposition MPs posted declarations on their Twitter accounts testifying that they voted for one of the two opposition candidates, who together collected only 17 votes against an incredible 48 votes by Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem. Ghanem yesterday said he has decided to withdraw all cases he had filed against online activists who criticized or insulted him on social media.
The outcome of the speaker’s vote could have a serious damaging impact on the unity of the 27 MPs who had pledged not to vote for Ghanem. The opposition was dealt another blow yesterday when they lost the election of two key committees - the financial and economic affairs and interior and defense - which they were won by pro-government MPs. The top posts of the financial and interior panels were taken by MPs Khalaf Dumaitheer and Askar Al-Enezi respectively.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly agreed on the opening day which ended late at night to refer a dispute over the election of the deputy speaker to the legal committee and then to the constitutional court for a ruling. The row was triggered when in the first round of voting, MP Jamaan Al-Harbash received 32 votes against 31 for MP Essa Al-Kandari, with one ballot blank.
The speaker then said the voting had to be repeated because no one obtained an absolute majority of 33 votes. It was won by Kandari, who got 32 votes against 31, since a simple majority was enough in the second round of voting.