150 Laws Waiting for Parliamentary Ratification

Posted on | August 12, 2009

The Al-Sabah government newspaper on 11 August 2009 reported that “on September 8th, when the Council of Representatives will [supposedly] conclude its current summer break, it will face a big challenge. This challenge is the necessity to discuss and ratify about 150 draft laws.
The new challenge for Parliament, especially its Presidency, is the short time frame that remains of the current Parliament’s mandate. It will end on 15 March 2009, i.e. two months after holding the upcoming legislative elections that will lead to the formation of a new Parliament. What makes this challenge more complicated is the fact that Members of Parliament will enjoy other holidays even before 15 March.
Sources in the Parliament’s Presidency told Al-Sabah that the Parliamentary  Speaker, Iyad Al-Samaraei, and his two deputies, Sheikh Khalid A’tiya and A’rif Taifour, are determined to vote for and ratify as many laws as possible in accordance with a new mechanism which classifies laws according to their importance and their positive impact upon the life of citizens. This mechanism emerged through agreement with leaders of Parliamentary blocs. The Parliamentary Speaker discussed last week with the Secretary-General of the Council of Representatives Ali Al-Allaq ways to overcome these obstacles facing the process of enacting new laws.
Al-Allaq presented a list of draft laws prepared by the government. At the same time, Al-Samaraei has called for nominating representatives of independent bodies as soon as possible especially the Commission of Accountability and Justice, the Civil Service Council and other bodies.
Among the laws which have been suspended for many reasons are the laws for oil and gas, the civil service, military retirement, elections, constitutional amendments, a body of laws related to security, a huge number of laws relating to ministries and independent bodies, and laws focused on science, official holidays and water.
There are also other laws focused on a number of different agreements, protocols, and economic and investments issues. The same sources added “although the past period witnessed active work by representatives through ratification of many laws, yet there are still around 150 laws, many of which may be adjourned for the next elected parliament. Among these are laws which generated political dispute among parliamentary blocs”. Some representatives pointed out that the Parliament will not be able to enact all the important laws during the remaining period of the current Parliament. The reason behind this, they stated, is the short time frame left, disputes, and Members’ involvement in the next legislative elections”

The Councilof Representaitves website contains lists of the Bills awaiting first reading, those which have been through their first reading, those which have been through their second reading and those which have been passed by the Council of Representatives – which does not necessarily mean that they will become law as the Presidency Council can still require them to be returned to Parliament under Article 138 of the constitution and they take effect only upon publication in the Official Gazette unless stipulated otherwise according to Article 129.