The Appeals Court yesterday reinstated four candidates and allowed them to run in the July 27 election after it overturned a decision by the Administrative Court to disqualify them. The original decision was issued by the Interior Ministry because the candidates did not fulfill conditions for running in election.
The Appeals Court however upheld the Administrative Court’s ruling to disqualify three other candidates. The same court rejected an appeal by candidate Hani Hussein calling to stop the election on suspected procedural flaws, confirming perhaps for the last time before the election that the polls day remains intact.
In a related development, the Administrative Court is scheduled to issue today rulings on four election petitions challenging the candidacy of four candidates running in the election. The petitions are against candidates Saud Sahoud, a well-known businessman under investigation on alleged vote-buying, and former members of the scrapped Assembly Nabeel Al-Fadhl, Abdulhameed Dashti and Khaled Al-Shatti. If the court accepts the petitions, the candidates will be barred from contesting but they can still have the right to challenge the ruling before the Appeals Court.
The public prosecution yesterday freed on bail two candidates after interrogating them on allegations of buying votes. The prosecution freed member of the scrapped Assembly Mishari Al-Husseini on a KD 10,000 bail and new candidate Saud Al-Subaie on KD5,000 bail but barred them from leaving the country.
The prosecution also released a number of workers for the candidates after interrogating them on their alleged involvement in organizing vote-buying operations. The new move came hours after police conducted two raids late Tuesday night on suspected homes being used for vote-buying. A large number of citizens and at least one candidate were detained and sent to the Public Prosecution. It was not immediately known whether those candidates will be allowed to run in the election. But even if they continue to run and win seats in the next Assembly, their results can be challenged in court.
Authorities in the meantime is gearing up for the election day with the Interior Ministry saying it has mobilized around 11,000 security men to ensure security of the election process. The Justice Ministry said over 800 judges will supervise the election and counting of votes which will remain manual because it is the most trusted way in determining the outcome of the polls.
The ministry said that voting will start at 8.00 in the morning until 8.00 pm and it will not stop during Iftar time in the evening. Voting will be held at 105 centers with each center having a number of polling stations. The Ministry of Health said it will set up around 100 clinics at polling centers and provide 50 ambulances for emergencies. With the election campaign coming to end today, a number of leading candidates made what seems to be their last bid for winning a seat in the next Assembly.
Speaker of the scrapped Assembly and former MP Ali Al-Rashed reiterated his total support for the regime and the ruling family, saying that “we want the regime and the ruling family for no selfish interest but because they ensure the stability of the country”. Former deputy speaker Abdullah Al-Roumi also said that the Kuwaiti people want the ruling family to continue and they never challenged their rule, but they also want the family to appoint competent family members in key posts.
Speaking at an election campaign, constitutional expert Mohammad Al-Maqate warned that there is a great possibility the next Assembly will be scrapped again by the Constitutional Court due to flawed constitutional procedures leading to the election.
By B Izzak