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Debate over nationality law delayed; Amir urges caution

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Kuwait Times
MPs form panel to probe health violations
KUWAIT: Opposition MPs (from left) Riyadh Al-Adasani, Abdulkareem Al-Kandari, Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei and Waleed Al-Tabtabaei pray during a session at the National Assembly yesterday. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
KUWAIT: The government and its supporters yesterday defeated a request by opposition MPs to urgently debate proposed amendments to the 1959 nationality law to prevent revocation of citizenships without a final court verdict. The debate is now scheduled to take place after two weeks after the concerned Assembly panel, the interior and defense committee, will prepare the draft law.
Opposition MPs demanded that the amendments be debated during the session, but the government demanded a two-month postponement, which the Assembly rejected. Later, the Assembly agreed to delay the issue for two weeks. Opposition lawmakers want to add a clause to the law that prevents the government from revoking a citizenship without a final court ruling. The amendment also wants to allow Kuwaiti courts to hear nationality cases.
The government has been opposing such moves because it considers citizenship cases as sovereign issues that courts should not be allowed to handle. The delay comes a day after HH the Amir agreed to reinstate the citizenship of four opposition figures and their family members more than two years after revoking them. Several opposition MPs welcomed the Amiri gesture and said the deal calls on them to suspend any plan to grill the prime minister. However, several MPs said yesterday that the agreement to suspend grilling the premier is not binding on them, adding that the suspension is against the constitution.
Justice Minister Falah Al-Azab said HH the Amir has instructed the government to keep the nation’s best interests at heart as it sorts out the issue of Kuwaiti citizenship. In a statement to the press after the parliamentary session, Azab, who is also Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs, said that the Amir firmly believes in adhering to the constitution and state laws. Moreover, he noted that the Assembly has formed an ad hoc committee to deal with the citizenship issue. “The government has some pointers regarding some suggestions MPs have made related to the citizenship issue,” Azab said.
The Assembly also agreed to form a special committee to probe all violations in the health ministry including alleged violations at medical offices abroad and allegations of massive financial violations in the issue of sending Kuwaiti patients abroad for treatment. The Assembly also agreed to delay debating two key amendments to the election law – the first barring people convicted of insulting HH the Amir from running for public office, and the second amending the single-vote system to two votes.
Azab told reporters after the session that the government is totally opposed to the election law and will not accept increasing the number of votes or allowing convicts to contest the elections. The Assembly also voted to ask the interior and defense committee to study traffic congestions in the country and propose short-, medium- and long-term solutions by May.
MPs also began debating a draft law to amend the juvenile law by reverting the juvenile age from 16 to 18 as it was several months ago following strong protests. The previous Assembly passed a law last year to lower the juvenile age to 16 in the wake of a rise in the crime rate among the 16-18 age group. State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah said the amendment of the law was to curb crimes committed by teenagers, but the government has no objection to raise the juvenile age again to 18 years.
By B Izzak
The post Debate over nationality law delayed; Amir urges caution appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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