KUWAIT: The Interior Ministry yesterday issued a permit to the organizers of the opposition demonstration on Friday, one day before the Dec 1 election. The opposition has decided to stage the demonstration in protest against holding the election on the basis of the amended electoral law. Interior Ministry spokesman Col Adel Al-Hashash told a press conference yesterday that the ministry issued the permit after it found that the application submitted by the organizers met the conditions set by the ministry, mainly that the demonstration must be peaceful.
A statement issued by the National Front for Safeguarding the Constitution, an umbrella of opposition groups, called on its supporters to actively take part in the demonstration and to boycott the election in large numbers. The Front also called on supporters to prepare themselves for a “long battle” to achieve longawaited democratic reforms in the country. Earlier, the administrative court yesterday said it was not competent to rule on a challenge against an Amiri decree that amended the electoral law and triggered the ongoing political crisis and calls to boycott the election.
Opposition figures plan to take the issue to the constitutional court after the election.
The challenge was filed by lawyer Riyadh Al- Sane, who said that the decree breached the Kuwaiti constitution and demanded that the election should be halted until it had ruled on the main case. The court said that it was not authorized to rule on the case because the decree is a sovereign act. Opposition figures plan to take the issue to the constitutional court after the election.
The constitutional court has the authority to rule on such issues and its rulings cannot be challenged. In a lengthy judicial day, another bench of the administrative court yesterday cancelled decisions issued by the National Election Commission to disqualify a number of candidates for the election. The court accepted challenges from 24 candidates and rejected five others while it will rule on a few others in the coming two days.
The National Election Commission last week disqualified 37 candidates, including several former MPs, on the basis that they did not meet conditions for listing in the election which require candidates to enjoy a good reputation. The government immediately appealed against the rulings and the court is expected to review the appeals before the Dec 1 election. Among those allowed to contest the election are former MPs Saleh Ashour, Youssef Al-Zalzalah, Khalaf Dumaitheer, Saadoun Hammad, Askar Al-Enezi and Khaled Al-Adwah, all members of the 2009 National Assembly who had been interrogated on charges they received millions of dinars in illegal money.
Others include Nabeel Al-Fadl and Khaled Al- Shulaimi and the rest are new candidates contesting the polls for the first time. The criminal court meanwhile set Jan 7 for the next hearing into the case of 68 people accused of storming the Assembly building in November last year. The defendants include 10 former MPs including Musallam Al-Barrak, Jamaan Al-Harbash, Faisal Al-Mislem, Mohammad Al-Khalifa and others. The next hearing will be to hear the arguments of defense lawyers before setting a date to issue the verdict.
By B Izzak, Kuwait Times Staff