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Speakers in rare clash as popular laws passed

Posted by on June 16, 2011 0 Comment

A rare intense clash between National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi and former three-time speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun over a procedural decision forced Khorafi to adjourn the Assembly session abruptly.

The clash began when Khorafi approved a government request to return a draft law stipulating salary increases for the military to the financial affairs committee to calculate the cost of the legislation. At this point, Saadoun, the most veteran lawmaker and the leader of the opposition, objected to Khorafi’s action, insisting that it was a violation of the rules and regulations governing the assembly operation.

Khorafi insisted that it was the right decision and asked Saadoun to stop shouting and sit down. Saadoun refused and told Khorafi that he did not have the authority to take decisions on his own and “you can do these things at home not here”. Speaking without a mike, Saadoun told MPs that Khorafi’s total alliance with the government “has destroyed this parliament and greatly harmed you”. At this point, Saadoun’s fellow opposition MP Musallam Al-Barrak asked Khorafi to allow Saadoun to express his viewpoint
through the mike. Khorafi refused and adjourned the session.

This was not the only clash in an otherwise productive session. As the Assembly was preparing to vote on a law calling to increase university students’ monthly stipends, MP Barrak saw State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Ali Al-Rashed leaving the chamber and asked him to stay, resulting in an exchange of harsh words between the two.

During the shortened session however, MPs overwhelmingly passed a law stipulating major pay rises for Kuwaiti teachers at schools and another law stipulating raising the monthly stipends of Kuwaiti university students. The Assembly also agreed that the government should implement the law within one week as a precautionary measure in case the Cabinet rejects the two laws. This will give MPs enough time to override the government’s rejection in a fresh vote before the current terms comes to a close early nex
t month.

Commenting on the Assembly moves, Minister of Oil and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Mohammad Al-Busairi told reporters that the government has its constitutional tools to deal with the laws. He also said that Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will win the vote on the non-cooperation motion filed by opposition MPs following a grilling on Tuesday.

Voting on the motion is on June 23. But Busairi warned that too many grillings will make this key constitutional tool lose its importance, charging that some of the grillings have become personal in nature. Busairi’s warning comes after MP Barrak said on Tuesday that the Popular Action Bloc plans to file a fresh grilling against the prime minister within days. Agencies

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