The newly-established National Election Commission yesterday disqualified 40 candidates including several former MPs over a variety of reasons – mainly over not keeping good conduct – but many of them said they will challenge the decision in court and were confident they will nullify the decisions. The commission, established by an Amiri decree last month, comprises nine top judges and is independent. Its decisions cannot be appealed but can be challenged in the administrative court. Prominent among those disqualified are former MPs Youssef Al- Zalzalah, Saleh Ashour, Khalaf Dumaitheer, Askar Al-Enezi, Khaled Al- Adwah, Saadoun Hammad and Mubarak Al-Khrainej, all of whom were incidentally questioned over allegations that they received millions of dinars in illegal deposits into their bank accounts.
The public prosecution however halted investigation into the major corruption case and shelved the lawsuit, saying existing Kuwaiti laws were insufficient to prosecute the former lawmakers. The commission also disqualified former MP Khudair Al- Enezi and members of the scrapped 2012 National Assembly Nabeel Al-Fadl, Mohammad Al-Juwaihel and Abdulhameed Dashti. All those who were disqualified were described as pro-government candidates and specifically supporters of the former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah. Adwah, Hammad, Dashti, Ashour, Fadl and Juwaihel all said they will challenge the decision in the administrative court today and were confident the decisions will be nullified.
Under Kuwaiti law, candidates for general elections must have a clean record of good conduct and should have not been condemned on criminal charges unless they have been repatriated. Opposition members however were skeptical about the decision, saying that it raised many doubts. In another development, the opposition decided yesterday to hold six public gatherings from today until election day to urge voters to shun the ballots after no opposition member registered to run for seats in the next Assembly. Following a meeting at the diwaniya of former speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun, the opposition announced that the gatherings will be held in all the five electoral districts, with two gatherings in the fourth constituency and the final gathering on Friday, Nov 30 on the eve of the election. Nothing was mentioned about any opposition plan to stage a procession.
Former MP Musallam Al-Barrak said it was decided that diwaniyas supporting the boycott will hang orange colour banners as a sign of their rejection to the election. The opposition has also started activating the Popular Committee for Boycotting the Election which has already established sub-committees in all the five constituencies. Barrak said the sub-committees have already started an awareness campaign to explain to the people why they should boycott the election.
He charged that a large-scale vote-buying operation was taking place in all the areas, with some candidates coordinating the process and held the interior ministry responsible for not curbing such corruption. Later in the day, hundreds of people, including several former opposition MPs, gathered at the Irada Square opposite the Assembly to encourage people to boycott the polls.