The Constitutional Court yesterday dismissed a petition calling to dissolve the National Assembly over faulty procedures, saying that the procedures taken to approve the so-called single vote decree were in line with the constitution.
A large number of MPs breathed a sigh of relief after the court made its long-awaited decision and perhaps killed the last hope that opponents of the current Assembly had to see it dissolved.At the same time, the court dismissed six other election petitions, some of them challenging election and by-election results. The court however delayed until Dec 10 another crucial ruling on some articles of the controversial public gatherings law which is expected to explain when gatherings and processions can be held.
Ahead of the ruling, rumors on social media networks that the court had decided to dissolve the Assembly spread like wildfire, although the rumors were published even before the court was due to start its session. The court, which had in the past dissolved the Assembly on two occasions, firmly said that procedures adopted by the Assembly elected in Dec 2012 “were correct and in line with the constitution”.
Lawyer Salah Al-Hashem had filed the petition on the grounds that the procedures of the Assembly approval of the so-called single vote decree were wrong and in violation of the charter of the Assembly and the constitution, and accordingly the election process should be nullified.
MPs hailed the decision as a recipe for stability in the country. Rulings and decisions by the constitutional court must be respected and fulfilled by believers in the rule of law, Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said. The decision by the constitutional court, and previous ones, are regarded as final say for constitutional differences or disputes. “Based on this, they are binding, regardless of our political views or tendencies,” he said. Ghanem is on an official visit to Italy.
MP Faisal Al-Kandari said the ruling is a victory for the constitution, the law and democracy in Kuwait, and yet another evidence about the integrity of the Kuwaiti justice system. MP Ahmad Lari congratulated the Kuwaiti people for the ruling and said those who were betting on a different decision to dissolve the Assembly should now understand that Kuwait is a country of law and order.
MP Mansour Al-Dhafiri expressed hope the ruling will close the door permanently for attempts to dissolve the Assembly. MP Sultan Al-Shemmari described the ruling as “historic”, adding that it had put an end to speculations and rumors about the fate of the Assembly. MP Abdullah Al-Maayouf said the ruling should silence propaganda campaigns against the Assembly, while MP Mohammad Al-Barrak said the ruling has confirmed the legality of the Assembly and removed all suspicions. MP Adnan Abdulsamad advised the “former opposition” to reassess their position after the ruling.
In another development, the court of appeals yesterday accepted a request by defense lawyers to hear the testimonies of former Assembly speakers Ahmad Al-Saadoun and Jassem Al-Khorafi on the National Assembly storming case. Around 70 opposition activists, including 11 former MPs, are on trial for taking part in the storming of the Assembly building in Nov 2011. The lower court acquitted all of them, but the public prosecution appealed against the ruling. Defense lawyers have insisted that they needed to hear the testimony of more people in order to have a clear picture on the case.
Separately, Minister of Information Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Sabah said yesterday he highly respects and appreciates the Kuwaiti judiciary as a reference for everybody in various issues and disputes. The remarks by Sheikh Salman Sabah, who is also minister of state for youth affairs, came following a court decision reinstating the former director-general and board chairman of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports (PAYS) Faisal Al-Jazzaf.
The Fatwa and Legislation Department has taken legal procedures to challenge the court ruling, the minister said in a statement released by the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs. Earlier on Tuesday, the court of appeals annulled a previous decision by the Civil Service Commission to force the PAYS chief to retire.