Kuwait: Constitutional Court revokes membership of MP Bader Al Dahoum

Kuwait City: On Sunday, Kuwait’s Constitutional Court issued a ruling that annuls membership of prominent opposition figure MP Bader Al Dahoum based on a previous case where he was charged with “insulting the Emir”.

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The court revoked Al Dahoum’s membership as per a 2016 law that states anyone convicted of insulting the Emir will be barred from partaking in the parliamentary elections.

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Back in 2014, Al Dahoum, along with two former MPs, were sentenced to three years in jail for speaking in a manner that was deemed offensive towards the late Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

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Three citizens brought three separate cases against Al Dahoum ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections stating that he is unfit to run due to his prior conviction.

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Following the court’s decision, Kuwait’s state media pointed out that a by-election will be held in the Fifth electoral district to fill Al Dahoum’s seat.

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Several MPs have publically stood by Al Dahoum and have stated that they will be boycotting the government swearing in session at parliament. Although a new government was formed two weeks ago, parliament has yet to hold a session after the Emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah, issued a decree on February 18 to suspend parliament for one month.

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Heightened tensions

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The ruling against Al Dahoum will likely further fuel the divide between the legislative and executive branch, as he is a staunch critic of the government and is one of the most prominent figures of the opposition.

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Less than a week after Kuwait’s 38th Cabinet of Ministers was formed Al Dahoum and MP Mohammed Al Mutair, filed a motion to interrogate the Prime Minister, Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah, for “selective implementation of the law” the motion stated.

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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.

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This is not the first motion that was filed by Al Dahoum against the Prime Minister. On January 5, Al Dahoum and two other MPs put forth a motion to interrogate the Prime Minister.

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They filed the motion under a couple of clauses, one of which that the Prime Minister failed to adhere to article 98 of the Kuwaiti Constitution which states, “upon formation, every Ministry shall submit its programme to the National Assembly and the Assembly may express whatever comments it deems appropriate thereon.”

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A day later, 38 MPs agreed to the interrogation, setting an unprecedented move as it was the first in time in Kuwaiti history that the majority of the MPs favour a motion before the session even occurs.

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