Kuwait's cabinet is slow to fix new budget of Arab Spring pay-out promises
The government is facing a dilemma on meeting budget requirements given the lack of parliament sessions, while an ordinance to approve a new budget cannot be passed before the 2009 parliament is dissolved. In the meantime, the government’s spending is based on the previous general budget that touched KD 19 billion. It estimates the new budget at KD 24 billion. One solution discussed is budget cuts, but this scenario is wrought with problems when the government is required to pay public sector salaries with added pay raises and allowances enforced during the past year.
This comes while the opposition bloc resumed preparations for tomorrow’s (Monday) mass protest, including naming members who will represent them at the Iradah Square. “The bloc’s coordination committee initially agreed with Mubarak Al-Walan, Abdurrahman Al-Anjari, Mohammad Al-Dallal and Faisal Al-Yahya to represent the bloc at the Iradah Square next Monday,” said member of the annulled 2012 parliament Adel Al-Dahoum. His meeting came following a meeting held with the coordination committee; a coalition of oppositionists who dominated majority seats in the annulled 2012 parliament.
The meeting held on Thursday, the first since the committee was assigned late last week to prepare for the bloc’s future steps, focused on organizing the work of the bloc’s media team “which focuses on sending the message of public protest and deflecting accusations,” according to sources. The committee was also scheduled to hold a meeting last night to continue discussing ideas “including the possibility of broadcasting a TV channel from outside Kuwait to cover public protests,” said sources who spoke to Al-Qabas. Meanwhile, Al-Dahoum told Al-Qabas that the committee discussed “the framework for establishing the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution,” noting that names of members will be discussed in more detail during the bloc’s next meeting.
Ahmad Al-Saadoun, Speaker of the 2012 Parliament released a statement in which he warned the government against “challenging the people’s willpower” by prolonging the dissolution of the 2009 parliament, that was reinstated following a Constitutional Court verdict in June that annulled its dissolution decree. Al-Saadoun also reiterated the necessity to “avoid ignoring the multimillion-dinar deposits, foreign transfers, diesel fuel smuggling and Shell Oil deal.” These issues were used by the opposition bloc to claim government corruption, which fueled public pressure that ultimately led to the Cabinet’s resignation and the Parliament’s dissolution late last year.
Hard-line oppositionist lawmaker Musallam Al-Barrak told Al-Jarida daily that “[the opposition] will go as far as it can” in staging public protests if the Constitutional Court renders the current electoral system unconstitutional. “The referral step is clearly the first step of a conspiracy the Cabinet seeks to achieve their goal,” Al-Barrak said, further reiterating claims that the Cabinet plans to use a verdict ruling the current system unconstitutional “in order to issue an emergency decree for new constituencies distribution by which they will be able to control the legislative authority.”