MPs urge ini­tia­tive for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: MPs called yes­ter­day for a na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ini­tia­tive to re­solve the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, which should in­clude re­leas­ing po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers, re­turn­ing cit­i­zen­ships that were re­voked and end­ing a clam­p­down on po­lit­i­cal dis­sent. The call was made by se­nior op­po­si­tion MP Ali Al-De­qbasi, who was among the for­mer law­mak­ers who ended a four-year boy­cott of the par­lia­men­tary polls and won a Na­tional Assem­bly seat last month.

His call was echoed by a num­ber of other MPs as the Assem­bly be­gan to de­bate the Amiri speech given dur­ing the Assem­bly’s in­au­gu­ral ses­sion on Dec 11. De­qbasi said the coun­try is liv­ing through very se­ri­ous re­gional con­di­tions, ter­ror­ist net­works were busted and the coun­try was the tar­get of a deadly ter­ror­ist at­tack. He called for cau­tion and for na­tional unity to be able to deal with the dan­gers.

“We want a na­tional ini­tia­tive from all of us here in this cham­ber in­clud­ing the heads of the two au­thor­i­ties to re­turn the re­voked cit­i­zen­ships and re­lease all po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers,” De­qbasi said. “We want a na­tional ini­tia­tive to end the on­go­ing cri­sis and those who think that the cri­sis is over af­ter this Assem­bly elec­tion are to­tally wrong,” he said. De­qbasi said that he and thou­sands of young men were the tar­get of tear­gas and po­lice beat­ings, adding “we need to over­come that pe­riod and move into a new, clean phase”. The law­maker was re­fer­ring to street protests or­ga­nized by the op­po­si­tion be­tween 2011 and 2014 to protest gov­ern­ment poli­cies, es­pe­cially the gov­ern­ment’s uni­lat­eral amend­ment of the vot­ing sys­tem.

Op­po­si­tion law­maker Mubarak Al-Ha­jraf warned that if the gov­ern­ment does not co­op­er­ate on var­i­ous is­sues, es­pe­cially of re­turn­ing re­voked cit­i­zen­ships, he will use con­sti­tu­tional tools against min­is­ters. He said that for­mer op­po­si­tion ac­tivist Saad Al-Ajmi, whose cit­i­zen­ship was re­voked and he was de­ported to Saudi Ara­bia, should be al­lowed to re­turn to the coun­try.

Op­po­si­tion MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said the gov­ern­ment should hold to ac­count all those re­spon­si­ble for lead­ing the coun­try into the cur­rent state of af­fairs. He charged that cer­tain peo­ple, whom he did not name, of strik­ing big deals at the ex­pense of the coun­try and who are re­spon­si­ble for the cur­rent short­com­ings in Kuwait. He said the sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try has de­te­ri­o­rated and badly im­pacted cit­i­zens, adding that cor­rup­tion is rife in all min­istries, adding that re­main­ing silent on th­ese sit­u­a­tions is a be­trayal of the coun­try.

MP Riyadh Al-Adasani ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of mis­man­age­ment of abun­dant wealth col­lected from oil. He said that the eco­nomic re­form pack­age is dev­as­tat­ing for cit­i­zens and ex­pa­tri­ates, say­ing that electricity charges have been in­creased man­i­fold and mer­chants will in­crease prices as a re­sult. He said the for­mer in­te­rior min­is­ter spent KD 23 mil­lion on gifts last year, while the gov­ern­ment is im­pos­ing aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

The Assem­bly will con­tinue the de­bate on the Amiri ad­dress on Jan 10, when it is sched­uled to also re­view the gov­ern­ment’s re­form pack­age amid strong op­po­si­tion to im­pos­ing charges. Be­fore de­bat­ing the Amiri ad­dress, the Assem­bly re­as­signed the pub­lic funds pro­tec­tion com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate a num­ber of is­sues re­lated to pub­lic funds and the Kuwait In­vest­ment Author­ity. The Assem­bly also asked its ed­u­ca­tional com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions of fake de­grees and other is­sues re­lated to the min­istry of ed­u­ca­tion.

— Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Law­mak­ers are seen dur­ing a ses­sion of the Na­tional Assem­bly yes­ter­day.

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