Opposition disunity exposed after...
However, Harbash later told the house that the constitutional court ruled in 1996 that a blank ballot should be counted as absent, which means that Harbash should have been declared the winner in the first round of voting, as his 32 votes would have been an absolute majority.
However, the speaker and several MPs said that after that ruling, the law was changed in which the blank ballot was considered part of those present. Constitutional experts are divided on the issue, with some supporting Harbash’s view and other experts backing the opposing view.
Opposition MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari said yesterday that he will demand forming a temporary panel to review legislations passed by the previous Assembly that are rejected by a majority of opposition lawmakers. Kandari said that he will submit a proposal to amend a number of freedom-curbing laws passed by the previous Assembly, including an amendment to reduce the preventive detention period to just 48 hours instead of four days. The previous Assembly increased the detention period to four days at the request of the interior ministry, after the 2012 Assembly had reduced the period.
Kandari also said he will propose that the DNA test law be completely abolished and that the new juvenile law to reduce a minor’s age to 16 should not be implemented early next year. The lawmaker recalled that the previous Assembly “was in the hands of the government, and now this Assembly is in the hands of the people”, and warned that opposition MPs will deal with the government in the same way it deals with the Assembly. Opposition MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf yesterday praised a decision by the new Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah that the names and images of defendants will not be published until the court convicts them. He said the decision is contrary to wrong practices introduced by previous minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, who was moved to the defense ministry, apparently to avoid criticism by the opposition.
Separately, well-known constitutional expert Mohammad Al-Moqate expected yesterday that the new Assembly will likely be dissolved by the constitutional court for breaches of the law. He did not explain the reason in detail, but said there are four major issues that could lead to the dissolution of the Assembly.
Moqate said he has reviewed the 52 petitions against the results of the elections filed at the constitutional court, adding that he believes the lifespan of the Assembly will be short. One of the petitions was filed by former justice minister Yaqoub Al-Sane, who failed in the election, claiming that the decree to set the election date was not in line with the constitution.
Former Islamist MP Bader Al-Dahoum, who was barred from contesting the polls because he was convicted by a court, challenged that the reason for barring him was not in line with the constitution. Others also challenged that the formation of the election committee by the interior minister was unconstitutional. Many others challenged the election results, claiming there were many counting errors. The constitutional court is likely to rule on the petitions in January.