Manama: Kuwait’s parliament Speaker Jasem Al Khorafi on Tuesday adjourned the session to next week for lack of forum.
The session, the first to be held by the parliament elected in 2009 and dissolved in 2011, but reinstated by the constitutional court in 2012, was scheduled to swear in the newly formed cabinet. However, most observers predicted that it would not go ahead after several lawmakers said that they would boycott it amid a constitutional crisis.
The number of cabinet ministers who showed up at the session was also limited to a few members.
“As we could not achieve the required quorum, I adjourn the session to next week,” Al Khorafi said. “If we fail again to have the required lawmakers, I will submit the issue to His Royal Highness the Emir as I have repeatedly said,” the Speaker told those present at the hall.
However, Al Khorafi said that he could not adjourn the session without paying special tribute to Jasem Al Qutami, a prominent political and parliamentary activist who died in June.
For Kuwaitis, Al Qutami, 83, “was a national icon who devoted himself and his life to serving Kuwait and its people and who invariably sided with people, democracy and freedom”.
Al Qutami, educated in Quranic and in formal schools, left Kuwait in 1948 for Egypt where he submitted separate applications to study medicine and to join the police academy. He eventually went to the academy. Upon graduation, he went back to Kuwait and was appointed the first police chief in 1954.
However, when he was asked in 1956 to disperse demonstrators who were protesting the attack on Egypt, he refused and resigned.
In 1962, he became an undersecretary at the ministry of foreign affairs.
One year later, he ran in the parliamentary elections and took a seat in the Fifth Constituency. He later gave up his seat to press for reforms in the nascent nation.
In 1975, he ran again in the parliamentary elections and won a seat in the Second Constituency. In 1985, he won a seat in the Third Constituency.
Following the dissolution of parliament, he hosted the first of two meetings by lawmakers pushing for a resumption of constitutional activities.
Al Qutami was well-known for his pan-Arab activism and was in 1983 a co-founder of the Arab Organisation of Human Rights, offering financial support and deploying outstanding efforts. He also helped found the Kuwaiti Organisation of Human Rights.
The Arab organisation named him honorary president for life in appreciation of his remarkable achievements and contributions.
Al Qutami again made history in Kuwait by becoming the first lawmaker to draft a bill to empower women politically.
He was a co-founder of the Kuwaiti Democratic Tribune alongside Ahmad Al Khateeb, Sami Al Munayyas and Abdullah Al Nibari.