KUWAIT: Islamist MP Abdulrahman Al-Jeeran said yesterday that he plans to submit amendments to the electoral law and to the constitution with the aim to increase the number of MPs in a bid to allow membership of the Cabinet to be raised.
He said that raising the number of the Assembly from the current 50 members has become a necessity because the population has increased several- fold since the inception of parliamentary life in 1962. Jeeran said that his planned amendments would allow the appointment of independent ministers for development, higher education and youth. Under the Kuwaiti constitution, the number of lawmakers is 50 and the number of Cabinet ministers should not exceed a third of the Assembly, or a maximum of 16 including the prime minister.
This restriction has forced Cabinet members to have more than one portfolio. Jeeran also said that he plans to amend the electoral law to stipulate that candidates for parliament must hold doctorate degrees in order to be able to legislate and monitor the government. The lawmaker said he knows his amendments may not be popular among MPs, but he still intends to submit his proposals.
Meanwhile, MPs Abdullah Al-Maayouf and Mohammad Tana met yesterday to coordinate Tana’s plan to file to grill Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh over alleged administrative and financial violations. Maayouf, who had repeatedly threatened to grill the minister, agreed to provide Tana with documents against the minister and agreed to speak against the minister during the grilling debate.
MP Ahmad Al-Azmi is also expected to speak in support of the grilling. Ahead of the new term due to open on Oct 27, MPs have threatened to grill several ministers over a variety of allegations. Besides the minister of social affairs and labour, lawmakers have threatened to grill ministers of health, commerce and industry, electricity and public works and oil. Other lawmakers have urged the prime minister to reshuffle the Cabinet in order to change at least three ministers.
In another development, MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji sent a series of questions to Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh over the Olympia commercial center in Salmiya which is built on government- leased land for the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). Turaiji asked if the contract is a lease contract or a Build- Operate-Transfer contract as stated in the contract itself. He asked if the law allows OCA to carry out an investment commercial project on state-leased land and if the buildings in the project are registered under the name of OCA or a real estate company. He also asked why the lease value was not raised from a mere KD 22.5 per year to KD 376,750 per year, the amount agreed with and accepted by OCA. Since its establishment, OCA has been headquartered in Kuwait.
By B Izzak