Kuwait City: Tuesday’s parliamentary session in Kuwait was cut short and guards were called in to prevent clashes between MPs as tensions between opposition lawmakers and the government continued.
During the session, a vote was put forth to suspend any past or upcoming interrogations against the Prime Minister, Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah, until 2022. Several lawmakers went up to the podium to stop the vote from taking place. MP Mohammed Al Mutair used a megaphone to scream, “This vote will not pass.”
As the chaos continued, the Speaker of Parliament, Marzouq Al Ghanim, called in the parliamentary guards to protect the Assembly Secretary as he continued to take the votes. The vote resulted in 33 members agreeing to postpone the motion to interrogate the Prime Minister.
When Al Ghanim moved on to discuss the motions filed against the Minister of Health, Dr. Basel Al Sabah, MPs protested the decision as they stated that there are still motions against the Prime Minister to be discussed.
As the dispute continued, Al Ghanim adjourned the session.
To grill or not to grill the PM?
This is the second vote to take place, after 34 members, 18 MPs and 16 ministers, agreed to postpone any previous or upcoming motions to interrogate the Prime Minister during last week’s session. The vote was taken during last week’s heated swearing in-session with 30 MPs boycotting it.
The Prime Minister had two motions filed against him and were planned to be discussed during last week’s session.
The first motion was filled by MP Bader Al Dahoum and MP Mohammed Al Mutair on March 8, less than a week after the government was formed. The announcement came after 15 MPs, including Al Dahoum and Al Mutair, were referred by the government to the public prosecutor for violating health measures and holding a large gathering of approximately 300 people.
The second motion was filled by MP Hasan Jowhar, MP Muhannad Al Sayer and MP Muhalhal Al Nisf for “breaking the promise to work towards amending several laws from those that concern freedom of expression to the electoral law,” Jowhar said during a press conference.
Removal of speaker
Following last week’s session, in an unprecedented motion, a proposal was filed against Al Ghanim by MP Bader Al Mulla and 22 others, on the grounds that Al Ghanim “breached the constitution” by allowing a vote to move forward barring the Prime Minister from being interrogated until 2022.
The proposal stated that Al Ghanim “committed flagrant violations while presiding over the March 30 session.” It added that Al Ghanim suspended article 101 of the Kuwaiti constitution (which dictates the process of interrogating ministers along with the Prime Minister) without a legal or constitutional basis.
Although this is the first motion of its kind since parliament was established in 1962, the motion to remove Al Ghanim is based on article 97, according to the proposal.
Busy week for Kuwaiti politics
While the drama between the executive and legislative branch continues, on Tuesday a Kuwaiti court ordered the detention of the former Prime Minister, Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah on corruption charges, local media reported.
Jaber Al Mubarak is the first Prime Minister in Kuwait’s history to face pre-trial detention over graft charges.