Kuwaiti NA approves elections draft bill in first reading


The Parliament will vote on the bill tomorrow after second reading and discussions of proposed amendments.

Commenting on the bill, the Parliament Interior and Defense Committee said in a report that there should not be any street advertisements launched by a candidate but only one collective ad in the city for which the Interior Ministry will be responsible.

In addition, each candidate will have one electoral headquarters and not one in each area. The committee proposed using certain schools where candidates can meet and talk to their fans as part of their election campaigns. Agreeing with the after agreeing Ministries of Education and Social affairs and Labor will be essential.

Part of the campaign, a candidate can launch his campaign ads through the press, TV and SMSs, but there will be no ads in the streets as they in order not to cause damage to the state property of block the traffic.

According to the bill, the Kuwait Municipality is responsible for removing the illegal ads and costs to be paid by the violator candidate.

During today’s discussions some MPs proposed KD 3,000 fine on violators. Others said one elections headquarters would not be enough, for there are populous areas that require more than on headquarter.


Bahraini minister backs hiring policies
Gulf Daily News: Social Development Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi  defended her ministry’s employment policies after being accused of following unclear criteria. "We have already managed to achieve a lot of what we set out to do and this has been through the ministry’s plans based on decentralisation and consultation, rather than solo decisions," she told parliament at its weekly session.

"The employment decision comes directly from the ministry’s employment committee chaired by me and supervised by assistant under-secretary for human and financial resources Maha Mandeel."

She was responding to a question by Mohammed Al Mizal on the ministry’s employment and promotion strategy.

Mr Al Mizal demanded an explanation from the minister on the way employees were being hired.

He said the committee, established last year, was not effective until recently.

The MP claimed that pensioners were being hired instead of fresh graduates, in addition to expatriates who could have been easily replaced by Bahrainis.

Dr Al Balooshi said the ministry had a clear vision and goals it wanted to achieve.

"The committee has just been established last year because the ministry was undergoing a reshuffle and the new employment structure was not approved in time," she said.

"We needed to know how our old staff would fit in and then consider employment based on vacancies."

Dr Al Balooshi said her ministry was in need of hiring local experts and this was why a number of experienced pensioners were hired.

"This type of experience is not found in fresh graduates," she said.

"Expatriate experts are being hired on temporary contracts to train Bahraini staff."

Meanwhile, MPs yesterday postponed discussions on the formation of a Medical Services and Professions Regulatory Authority for two weeks to allow the services committee more time to prepare a study on the issue.

MPs also returned to the Cabinet a letter sent by Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa on the government’s privatisation plans, saying it was unclear and missed vital information.

Parliament’s financial and economic affairs committee chairman Abduljalil Khalil said the government has yet to tell people what was its backup plan if privatisation of a specific sector fails.

"We are in need of more information on the issue, considering that the government has started privatising certain sectors without presenting us with a study on what would happen to it, its employees or if it fails," he said.

"There should be clarity on the issue and it should follow international standards.

"The government should send us something comprehensive."

The Premier’s letter responding to a proposal by parliament to come up with a clear strategy for the next five years in regard to privatisation said that it was being organised under the relevant privatisation legislation.

It said that it gave the Cabinet the authority to take the necessary action and that any plan will be submitted to the parliament.

MPs also suspended discussions for two weeks on recommendations from a parliament investigation report on Bahrain’s two biggest fashts (coral reefs).

They said it did not contain clear measurements of Al Jaram and Adham Fashts.

The sizes given by the government varied from one ministry to another, with documents presented to them having various registration dates, they said.

Discussions have been previously suspended twice for two weeks since last month.

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