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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03KUWAIT896 2003-03-12 13:57:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

THIS WEEK AT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINR KU 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  UNCLAS KUWAIT 000896 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARP, INR/NESA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KU
SUBJECT: THIS WEEK AT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

REF: A. KUWAIT 0099

B. KUWAIT 0466

C. KUWAIT 0800



1. The Kheiran Pearls scandal (reftel A) continued to occupy
center stage at the National Assembly this week. MP Mussalam
Al-Barak accused former Finance Minister Yousef Al-Ibrahim of
squandering public funds in relation to the project. In his
first official statement since his resignation in January,
Al-Ibrahim defended himself against Al-Barak's accusations
and recommended he take the matter to the Minister's Court
for final resolution. Al-Barak called Al-Ibrahim's
resignation an "escape from political accountability" and
indicated the National Assembly will vote on March 17 to
refer Al-Ibrahim to the Minister's Court.



2. Press reports claimed that some of the ten MPs who last
week called for a vote of no-confidence in Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet and National
Assembly Affairs Mohammed Sharar (reftel C) are considering
withdrawing their support for the measure. Fearing they will
not get the 24 votes necessary for the vote of no-confidence,
these MPs are reluctant to lose face publicly over this issue
during an election year. Because a minimum of 10 signatures
is necessary for the motion to go forward, if any of the
signatories withdraw their support, there will be no vote of
no-confidence. One of the signatories of the measure, MP
Abdul Mohsen Al-Midij, expressed his willingness to withdraw
support if the government revokes the Kheiran Pearls
contract. If the government does not voluntarily revoke the
contract, the National Assembly is prepared to vote on a
recommendation to revoke the contract and to refer the file
to the Office of the Public Prosecutor.



3. MPs Mikhlid Al-Azmi and Abdulla Al-Arada submitted a
draft law to change the designation for passing dud checks
from a felony to a misdemeanor. Designated as a legislative
priority in November 2002, the issue of dud checks has
already been addressed by the National Assembly, which passed
a law removing the criminal penalty for passing bad checks on
January 28. The Amir vetoed that bill out of fear that the
reduction of the penalty would encourage people to pass bad
checks and undermine commercial ventures in Kuwait.



4. Five Islamist MPs are proposing a new amendment to the
National Manpower Law of 2000 which would set a limit of
seven on the number of children for whom a citizen may
collect the children's allowance. The original Manpower Law
set the number of children at five but the National Assembly
passed an amendment to the Manpower Law in January (reftel B)
that granted the allowance for an unlimited number of
children; this amendment was vetoed by the Amir. The
compromise has not yet been put before the National Assembly
for a vote.



5. The government referred a draft law to the National
Assembly to allocate additional funds to various departments
for the current year. The law includes an urgent request to
take KD 500 million from the general reserve of the state to
meet previously unforeseen expenses related to the current
crisis. The Speaker of the National Assembly told the
Ambassador on March 11 that he did not anticipate any
problems gaining approval for this request.
JONES