Kuwait polls declared illegal

Updated 21 June 2012
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Kuwait polls declared illegal

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s constitutional court yesterday declared February’s legislative polls in which the opposition swept to victory illegal and reinstated the previous pro-government Parliament.
Leading opposition MP Mussallam Al-Barrak described the verdict as “a coup against the constitution” and called for the opposition to take a united stand.
“The court nullifies the election that was held on Feb. 2, 2012 ... and cancels the membership of MPs who were declared winners,” said the court verdict, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.
The court based its decision on the grounds that two decrees “dissolving the previous parliament and calling for a fresh election were illegal,” the verdict said.
The ruling also stipulated that “the previous Parliament regains its constitutional powers as if it had not been dissolved.” Rulings by the Gulf state’s highest court are final and cannot be challenged.
At least 16 opposition MPs who were members in the previous Parliament announced their resignation from the house, saying in a statement they refused “to sit in a Parliament rejected by the people.”
At least 13 MPs in the previous Parliament were questioned last year by the public prosecutor on charges that they received about $350 million of illegal deposits that opposition MPs charged were political bribes.
The government, which issued no reaction to the ruling, went into an emergency meeting to review the consequences.
Lawyer Yacoub Al-Sane, who had filed one of several lawsuits on behalf of Ali Al-Rashed, a pro-government member of the previous Parliament, said the ruling was based on the fact the government which recommended the Parliament’s dissolution was “unconstitutional.”
Rashed himself welcomed the ruling and congratulated the Kuwaiti people for the ruling.
In early December, the emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, issued a decree dissolving Parliament following youth-led street protests demanding reforms and the sacking of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Following the resignation of Sheikh Nasser in late November, the emir appointed Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah as new premier, but he “left the previous Cabinet intact, which is illegal,” Sane said.
A few days later, the emir issued another decree inviting Kuwaitis to elect a new Parliament on Feb. 2.
Sane said it was the “illegal” Cabinet which recommended to the emir to dissolve the previous Parliament and to call for elections, thus rendering the procedures illegal.
The unprecedented ruling is expected to plunge the Gulf state into a new political crisis. Kuwait was rocked by a series of political crises since 2006 during which eight cabinets resigned and the parliament was dissolved on four occasions. Political analyst Anwar Al-Rasheed said the ruling will escalate already high political tension in Kuwait unless the emir dissolves the reinstated parliament again and calls for fresh polls.
“This historical ruling will certainly lead to intensifying the political crisis in the country that has been suffering for a long time,” Rasheed told AFP.
The Kuwaiti ruler on Monday suspended the opposition-controlled Parliament for one month in a bid to ease political tension after two ministers were forced to quit from the four-month-old Cabinet.


UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

Updated 23 April 2018
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UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

  • UAE donates over $50mn to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri
  • The five-year project aims to give hope to Iraqi youths

BAGHDAD: The United Arab Emirates and Iraq on Monday launched a joint effort to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri and its iconic leaning minaret, ravaged last year during battles to retake the city from militants.
During the ceremony at Baghdad’s National Museum, UAE Culture Minister Noura Al-Kaabi said her country would put forward $50.4 million (41.2 million euros) for the task.
“The five-year project is not just about rebuilding the mosque, the minaret and the infrastructure, but also about giving hope to young Iraqis,” she said.
“The millenia-old civilization must be preserved.”
The deal was signed by Kaabi and her Iraqi counterpart, Faryad Rawanduzi, in the presence of UNESCO’s Iraq representative Louise Haxthausen.
“This is an ambitious, highly symbolic project for the resurrection of Mosul and Iraq,” said Haxthausen.
“The work has already begun, the site is now protected... we must first clear the site, remove the rubble (and) document, before we can begin reconstructing the mosque and its minaret.”
The famed 12th century mosque and its leaning minaret — dubbed “the hunchback,” or Al-Habda, by locals — was destroyed in June 2017.
The Iraqi army accused Daesh militants of destroying it with explosives as Iraqi forces steadily retook ground in the embattled city.
It was in this mosque in 2014 that Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliph,” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, made his only public appearance as leader. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Kaabi, the Emirati minister, called on the international community “to unite to protect universal heritage sites, especially those in our Arab region” in theaters of conflict.
The Al-Nuri mosque is named after Nureddine Al-Zinki, who once ruled over Aleppo and Mosul and ordered the construction of the mosque in 1172.
Al-Habda, which maintained the same structure for nine centuries, was one of the only remnants of the original construction.
Decorated with geometric brick designs, the minaret was long a symbol of the city.
It was printed on 10,000 Iraqi dinar banknotes before it became a symbol of Daesh rule, when the militants planted their black flag at the top of its 45-meter spire.
“This is a historic partnership, the largest and unprecedented cooperation to rebuild cultural heritage in Iraq ever,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
The first year of reconstruction will focus on documenting and clearing the site, UNESCO said.
The following four years will focus on the restoration and “faithful reconstruction” of the mosque, its minaret as well as the city’s historic gardens and open spaces.