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Standoff looms in Kuwait over electoral law amendments

Lawmakers have also been pressing the government for reinstating the citizenship of individuals who had it revoked for various reasons

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait’s parliament and government are forming an ad-hoc committee to coordinate their stances on the issue of reinstating the nationality of individuals who had their citizenship revoked for various reasons.

Justice minister and state minister for parliament affairs Mohammad Al Azeb said that the government had some reservations about the draft laws presented by lawmakers regarding the issue and that it wanted to move cautiously while the parliamentarians wanted to rush the case.

“His Highness the Emir has given instructions to government officials to coordinate with lawmakers in order to reach solutions that serve the interests of the nation and the citizens regarding the Kuwaiti citizenship,” the minister said on Tuesday following a parliament session.

“The government is keen on cooperating with the parliament on this and other issues. We must make sure that all issues are addressed in accordance with the constitution and the law.”

On Monday, following a meeting between the Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah and a group of lawmakers, parliament speaker Marzouq Al Ganem said that he and the prime minister had been tasked by the Emir to follow up on the citizenship dossier and to present to him a full review of it.

Lawmakers have been pressing for reinstating the citizenship of several individuals who had it revoked for various reasons.

The demand for the reinstatement of citizenship was a major issue on the electoral manifestos of several lawmakers and some of them had threatened to grill the prime minister over the issue.

On the issue of amending the electoral law in order to allow voters to cast ballots for two candidates instead of one, Al Azeb said that the government was not in favour of the change.

In October 2012, the Emir amended the 2006 electoral law and reduced the maximum number of candidates a voter could elect from four to one.

The government said that it wanted to address all loopholes in the electoral law and to adopt the international standard of “one voter, one vote”.

However, the opposition has contended that the decree is meant to ensure the election of a rubber-stamp parliament and to reduce its influence.

In June 2013, the constitutional court upheld the Emir’s decree.

Opposition figures who participated in the November 2016 elections pledged to amend the law and agreed to introduce an amendment that would give voters the right to choose two candidates.

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