The first term ended with tensions between the government and opposition figures at a high. Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kuwait City: On Thursday, the speaker of Kuwait’s parliament, Marzouq Al Ghanim, announced the first term of the 16th legislative session has ended and parliament will reconvene after the recess in October.

During Thursday’s special session, Al Ghanim put forth a vote whether a session to discuss the state’s financial situation should be held secretly. Out of the 62 members present, 32 MPs voted for the session to be held in private.

This comes after the government requested the meeting be held in confidence. According to Article 69 of the parliament’s procedural law, which states the secret session may be held at the request of the government, speaker of government and at least 10 members.

In all of Kuwait’s political history, sessions regarding the country’s financial status have always been discussed in a secret session.

While a majority agreed to the secret session, the government withdrew from the session after the MPs sat in the seats of the ministers and refused to get up.

Political deadlock

The first term ended with tensions between the government and opposition figures at a high.

This comes as the government and MPs allied with the government approved the Prime Minister’s, Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah, request to postpone all previous and future interrogations against him for a year and a half. This is the first time in Kuwait’s history that such a request is granted.

The opposition is adamant not to let a single regular session to move forward as they called the move to postpone all interrogations against the Prime Minister “unconstitutional”. In addition, they claimed the vote that approved the request, which took place during the swearing in session of the new government on March 30, was “manipulated”.

None of the eight motions filed to interrogate several ministers, two of which filed against the Prime Minister, took place.

Laws passed

Since no regular session took place, several draft laws are pending. Only a couple of laws have been discussed and voted on since the legislative term began six months ago.

Last week, the parliament held a special session which resulted in the approval of the 2021-2022 stated budget, the most expensive budget to be passed in Kuwait’s history. Out of the 63 present members, 32 voted in favour of the 23 billion Kuwaiti dinars budget.

On March 30, during the swearing in session where 27 opposition MPs boycotted the session, the parliament voted on various laws.

The amnesty law, which calls on pardoning political activists and former politicians, was rejected after 27 of those present voted against it.

As for the laws that were passed, the parliament approved delaying loan instalments for another six months after 33 of those present voted in agreement. In addition, the majority also voted for a law that supports and ensures the financing of local banks for clients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parliament also approved a law to amend the press and publications law in it’s first deliberation.