Kuwait PM refutes grilling motion as ‘unconstitutional’

April 1, 2012

Kuwait’s parliament on Wednesday took no action on the grilling of the prime minister who argued that the quizzing was unconstitutional.

Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah told MP Saleh Ashour who filed the motion and the parliament that the grilling covered issues related to events that occurred during the terms of former cabinets and for which he was not responsible.

Under Kuwait’s constitution and several rulings by the Constitutional Court, the prime minister can be cross-examined only about the general policy of his government.

Shaikh Jaber added in his arguments after the MP presented his case that some of the issues mentioned in the motion had been referred to the judiciary and could not be included in the quizzing.

Some other points mentioned by the lawmaker lacked specific facts, Shaikh Jaber said in the first public grilling of a sitting prime minister in Kuwait.

Shaikh Nasser Mohammad, the outgoing prime minister, faced grilling sessions, but they were invariably held behind closed doors despite pressure from the opposition for public argumentations.

MP Saleh Ashoor in early September said that he would grill the prime minister over the huge amounts of money deposited allegedly illegally into the bank accounts of former lawmakers and on the lack of seriousness in applying the law.

The motion also included allegedly illegal transfer of Kuwaiti funds abroad and the status of the Bidoon, the stateless Arabs living in Kuwait.

The move came one month after the parliamentary elections on February 2 where Islamists and tribesmen swept most of the 50 seats and almost three weeks after the formation of the government.

In his defense, Shaikh Jaber said that MP Saleh Ashoor presented his quizzing motion only a few days after the formation of the government and charged that the move reflected an arbitrary use of the right to grill ministers, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

The prime minister dismissed in his arguments the notion that an MP had “absolute rights” for grilling, saying that “others have rights that could be given priority and deserved care and consideration.”

“MPs should think mainly about public interests. Therefore, filing a grilling motion should be only in cases of necessity,” he said.

However, MP Saleh Ashoor said that his grilling move was “fully constitutional.”

“Calling it unconstitutional is not fair. If it were unconstitutional, why did the prime minister accept to come to the podium? Besides, there had been motions over issues that were pending at courts and I insist that there is a difference between what is political and what is criminal,” he said.




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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