Manama: A political crisis that threatened to sour relations between Kuwait’s parliament and government was averted after a motion to grill the prime minister was referred to the Legal and Legislative Committee.
Lawmakers were scheduled to discuss the motion filed by MP Shuaib Al Muwaizri to grill Prime Minister Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak on the alleged mishandling by the government of the rain disaster that hit the country this month and caused the death of one person and heavy damage to the infrastructure and public and private property.
However, and ahead of the debate, several lawmakers said the motion was unconstitutional as it held the prime minister responsible for an issue that is not under his prerogatives.
“Democracy is a tool to build, not to demolish,” Shaikh Jaber told the lawmakers during the session. “This motion to grill is contrary to rules and regulations and violates the directives of the Emir. We do need to put an end to deviations in our parliamentary practice and to correct its course in order to maintain our democratic system.”
Justice Minister Fahad Al Afassi said the grilling motion “referred largely to executive aspects that are not within the competence of the Prime Minister, but rather within the prerogatives of the ministers concerned.”
Two lawmakers supporting the motion and two opposing it presented their points of view in their bid to convince their peers of how to vote.
MP Riyadh Al Adasani who supported the motion said that it should not be referred to the committee, arguing that the solution was for the prime minister to take the stand and explain how it was not constitutional.
MP Abdul Kareem Al Kindari urged the lawmakers to move forward with the motion, arguing that all directives and orders issued during the rainfalls were from the prime minister and therefore, he should be held accountable.
However, MP Mohammad Al Harees said the motion needed to be carefully reviewed and explained that rainfalls were within the competence of ministers, not the prime minister.
MP Ouda Al Ruwaie argued against the motion and questioned the motives of Al Muwaizri in filing it.
The motion was rejected and referred to the Legal and Legislative Committee by 41 votes, including those of government ministers, and supported by 20. Two lawmakers did not vote.
The committee will submit a report on whether the motion was constitutional to the parliament.
Based on prior statements, the committee is most likely to reject the motion.
Al Muwaizri and his supporters have not yet mentioned their options in such a case.