Kuwaiti lawmakers under pressure to grill prime minister

December 23, 2010

Kuwaiti lawmakers have come under intense pressure from constituents demanding a clear position on the grilling of the prime minister scheduled for December 28.

In an unprecedented development, the pressure moved from statements in the local media to rallies in front of the houses of the lawmakers who have opted not to divulge their final positions until they could hear the two sides of the standoff next week.

Several opposition MPs have filed for the grilling of the prime minister and the adoption of a no-cooperation motion against the government following clashes between anti-riot police and people at a diwaniya, the traditional private community hall that Kuwaitis build next to their homes to receive guests.

However, in the run-up to the grilling session and amid tense divisions on whether it should be public or behind closed doors, both camps are making moves to rally support and augment their chances of asserting their views. On Tuesday evening, residents of the fourth and fifth constituencies picketed the house of MP Hussain Mizyed, while another gathering was held in front of MP Saadoun Al Utaibi’s house to pressure the two MPs to declare their stance towards the grilling of the premier, Kuwait Times reported yesterday.

In a move that reflects the extent of the tension prevailing in the streets, constituents also gathered in front of the homes of MPs Mohammad Al Huwaila and Khalid Al Adwa even though they have already declared their support of the grilling. The crowd said that the lawmakers’ stance did not go far enough and wanted them to openly support the no-cooperation motion too.

This marked the first time constituents are applying pressure directly on their MPs to make them take a certain stand on an issue in parliament.


However, Al Huwaila rejected the rally pressure tactics and said that he would base his decision on his convictions.

“There are obviously suspicious moves to exert pressure on lawmakers, and nobody has the right to rally in front of my diwaniya without informing me or consulting with me first,” he said. “I will not bow to pressure and will decide on how to move according to my convictions, and not those of others,” he said.

Earlier, opposition MPs criticised the government for the alleged excessive use of force to disperse a public gathering and for the imprisonment of Kuwait University law professor Obaid Al Wasmi. Al Wasmi has been remanded in custody for 21 days pending the investigation.

MP Musallam Al Barrak accused the prime minister and interior minister of issuing orders to the special forces to beat up people at the gathering held on December 8.

MP Jamaan Al Harbash said he hoped the grilling of the prime minister would result in the formation of a new government.

However, Parliament Speaker Jassem Al Khorafi called for the highest levels of self-restraint and said that MPs should refrain from attacking one another and should respect all views and opinions.

Al Khorafi urged MPs to avoid speaking about the aftermath of the grilling before it happens, in reference to statements in which several MPs said that around 20 lawmakers will file a non-cooperation motion against the prime minister.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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