Op­po­si­tion dis­unity ex­posed af­ter speak­er­ship set­backs

Con­sti­tu­tional ex­pert says Assem­bly could be dis­solved

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

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.

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