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Kuwait’s political saga continues
On March 17, the Kuwaiti PM will appear before the nation’s parliament to face accusations of corruption and negligence. But there’s more to the political drama.
March 11, 2009 5:00 by Dana El Baltaji
Political tension eased slightly yesterday after a meeting between National Assembly speaker Jassem Al Khorafi and the Amir. However, dissolving the Assembly as a way out of the crisis still remained a strong possibility. Al Khorafi said democracy should not be misused and “we should assist the Amir and thank him for preserving democracy in the country,” adding that “if we want stability and development for the country, we should stop crises and should have a clear way of dealing with each other away from unhelpful escalation.”
Some MPs who attended the meeting sounded positive and were optimistic that the assembly will hold its regular session on March 17 when three meetings the prime minister are scheduled to be take place. Sources said that they expect the government to demand referring the three meetings either to the constitutional court or to the Assembly’s legal and legislative committee to rule if the meetings violate the constitution.
But MP Faisal Al Muslim, who was the first to file to quiz the prime minister last week, rejected any moves against the grilling, saying that the Kuwaiti people deserve to hear the defense of the prime minister against accusations. He said that the prime minister should defend himself in the Assembly or should step down, adding that referring the meetings to the constitutional court does not prevent a debate from taking place in the Assembly.
MPs of the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) however remain adamant that they will not withdraw their intention to grill the prime minister, and will not accept any delays of the meetings scheduled with him. This position is also supported by the Popular Action Bloc. Parliamentary sources said that March 11 could be very decisive regarding a final decision on the political situation in the country and did not rule out the possibility of a decree being issued to dissolve the Assembly.
In another development, several MPs renewed calls on Education Minister Nouriya Al Sabeeh to step down after a new rape case was exposed at a private kindergarten in Farwaniya. An Egyptian man told police that a Bangladeshi cleaner raped his five-year old son at the kindergarten and that the boy was able to identify the worker, who was later arrested.
The incident angered MPs who called on Sabeeh to resign, accusing her of being incapable of running the Education Ministry and providing insufficient protection to students. The ministry condemned the new incident and ordered the kindergarten to install cameras. It also said that investigations are ongoing to uncover details of the assault.
MP Dhaifallah Buramia criticized Sabeeh and called on the prime minister to sack her, saying she has failed in running the ministry. MP Ali Al Deqbasi said lawmakers will not remain silent over the series of assaults at schools, adding that MPs are also responsible for the negligence of the minister.
MP Hussein Al Quwaian said that “the death of two students, a series of assaults on children and female teachers and a deterioration in the standard of education are some of the achievements of the minister.”
Last year, Sabeeh narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence following a grilling mainly by tribal and Islamist MPs who have been targeting her since she was appointed minister approximately two years ago.
First seen in Kuwait Times.