By Courtney Trenwith
Constitutional Court rejects claim cabinet can set poll date with no elected member
The Kuwaiti Constitutional Court has rejected a petition calling for Saturday’s snap election to be declared illegal and cancelled.
The petition, lodged by lawyer Adel Abdulhadi, claims the cabinet did not have the power to set a new poll date – July 27 – because under Kuwaiti law it must have an elected representative from the National Assembly to make decisions.
The assembly was sacked last month after the Constitutional Court ruled the December 2012 election was null and void, leaving only government members appointed by the prime minister.
On Tuesday, the court ruled that Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al Rasheedi fulfilled the constitutional requirement for an elected member to be in the cabinet, despite the fact she was not a member following the June 16 decision to nullify the 2012 election.
A second petition also has been filed demanding the election be postponed until after September 18, when the Constitutional Court is expected to provide legal reasoning for its decision to sack the assembly. The petition is yet to be heard.
The July 27 election would be the country’s fifth in as many years.
The 2009 assembly was first dissolved in December 2011 following street protests led by the opposition.
A new election was held in February the following year but nullified on June 20, 2012, meaning the 2009 assembly was reinstated, only to be nullified again less than four months later.
The Constitutional Court also last month upheld a change that moves the country to a one-vote system, which is controversial among opposition supporters who claim it goes against them.
As usual, time correct this writer:
"...meaning the 2009 assembly was reinstated, only to be nullified again less than four months later."
It wasn't nullified; it was dissolved 16 weeks later.
The Assembly of 2009 operated till Dec 11, after which the Amir dissolved it and called for new elections (hence Assembly of 12). The Constitutional Court looked into the matter and issued a verdict that Assembly '12 is null because the Amir's dissolution of the 2009 Assembly contravened Article 107 of the Constitution of Kuwait.
Article 107 partly states "â€¦Dissolution of the Assembly may not be repeated for the same reasons. In the event of dissolution, elections for the new Assembly shall be held within a period not exceeding two months.. If the elections are not held within the said period the dissolved Assembly shall be restored to its full constitutional authorityâ€¦".
Because the Amir violated this, the court reinstated Assembly 09 but MPs refused to attend session so it was dissolved.