KUWAIT: In a week of major political surprises and moves, the Cabinet submitted its resignation to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday, the information minister told a press conference. The move came for purely legal and constitutional reasons, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah said, adding that it was based on recommendations by a ministerial committee assigned to study necessary procedures to implement a constitutional court ruling issued last week.
The constitutional court last week nullified the general elections in February, thus declaring the National Assembly illegal and reinstated the 2009 Assembly which was dissolved by the Amir in December last year. The court based its decision on the grounds that two Amiri decrees – one dissolving the previous Assembly and a second inviting Kuwaiti voters to elect a new Assembly – were found to be flawed and accordingly scrapped.
The minister explained that to implement the court ruling, the government must approve the decrees and send them to the Amir to be issued and the government is afraid that its composition could involve some suspicions and accordingly decided to resign. He said the main reason for the resignation is to pave the way for an entirely new government that is constitutionally perfect, which will approve the needed decrees without any possibility of it being challenged in the future.
Sheikh Mohammad reiterated that the new government will approve a decree to rectify the Amiri decree that dissolved the 2009 National Assembly. That decree was declared flawed by the constitutional court. The move means that the government has decided to dissolve the reinstated Assembly because the “reasons for dissolving it in December last year still exist”. But the minister did not explicitly say whether the reinstated Assembly will be called to hold any sessions before it is dissolved again with a new Amiri decree.
He however said that the new government can recommend to dissolve the 2009 Assembly only after being sworn in by the Amir and without taking the oath in the Assembly. Assembly sessions must be attended by at least one minister to become legal. Under Kuwaiti law, Cabinet ministers are first sworn in by the Amir to become ministers and later take the oath in the Assembly to become members of parliament.
Meanwhile, the 2009 Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi was received by the Amir after returning from abroad following the court ruling. Khorafi has not visited the Assembly building and was expected to meet late yesterday with a group of the 2009 MPs in order to discuss the situation. However, from the developments yesterday, especially the government’s resignation, it is not expected that the 2009 Assembly will hold any meeting and will be dissolved as soon as the new government is formed.
In another development, the criminal court opened the trial of 68 activists who stormed the Assembly building in November last year. The activists include nine MPs from the 2009 Assembly, who were also members in the scrapped 2012 Assembly, in addition to former MP Mohammad Al-Khalifa. The judge immediately freed the nine MPs because of their immunity and called the rest one-by-one and read out the charges against them. They were accused of storming a public building, assaulting and resisting police, and instigating policemen to disobey orders. The court however let all the men go and set the next hearing for Oct 8.