After weeks of mounting tensions between the government and opposition members, several MPs sat in ministers’ seats in parliament as a form of protest over an alleged manipulation of vote a month ago, which led to the postponement of all previous and upcoming interrogations filed against the Prime Minister, Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah, until 2022.
The vote in favour to postpone vote on grilling Sabah Al Khaled came as a surprise with many pointing out that it is unconstitutional and in breach of the parliament’s internal procedures law.
Several MPs sat in the seats of ministers’ before Tuesday’s session was supposed to take place. As a result, the government did not show up to the session and the speaker of parliament, Marzouq Al Ghanim, adjourned the session until after the Eid Al Fitr holiday.
The MPs also put up stickers on the desks of the ministers that read “We swore allegiance to the 1962 constitution” in reference to their objection to allowing the postponement of all grilling sessions.
This is not the first time MPs voice their objection on the matter as two weeks ago the parliamentary session was adjourned after MPs went up to the podium to disrupt the vote from taking place. MP Mohammed Al Mutair was captured screaming through a megaphone “the vote is illegal”.
MPs have pointed out that article 100 of the constitution allows them as members of parliament to direct interrogations at any minister, including the Prime Minister, therefore postponing all motions to interrogate is against the constitution.
Reasons to interrogate
The Prime Minister had two motions filed against him, which were scheduled to be discussed a month ago during the swearing in session of the newly appointed government.
The first motion was filed by then MP Bader Al Dahoum and MP Mohammed Al Mutair on March 8, less than a week after the government was formed. The announcement came after 15 MPs, including Al Dahoum and Al Mutair, were referred by the government to the public prosecutor for violating health measures and holding a large gathering of approximately 300 people.
The second motion was filled by MP Hasan Jowhar, MP Muhannad Al Sayer and MP Muhalhal Al Nisf for “breaking the promise to work towards amending several laws from those that concern freedom of expression to the electoral law,” Jowhar said during a press conference.
The decision to postpone all previous and upcoming grilling motions is unprecedented in Kuwaiti politics. In the past, the government has tried to block requests to interrogate ministers, but for specific motions not all future motions.
In 2011, the government blocked a request to question then Prime Minister, Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah, which resulted in storming of parliament by opposition figures calling the move unconstitutional. Nasser Al Mohammed resigned shortly after.