Kuwait parliament speaker says GCC union unlikely


Kuwait’s new parliament speaker Ahmed al-Saadoun said a possible union between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is unlikely owning to differences in political systems.

“It is, for example, very difficult for a country like Kuwait that grants freedom of speech and where people are represented in parliament to form a union with countries whose prisons are full of thousands who are guilty of speaking their minds,” Saadoun told Al Arabiya in his first TV appearance after assuming his position as parliament speaker.

Saadoun added that in all cases all GCC countries need to work together to achieve as much rapprochement as possible.

“But we will be fooling ourselves if we think that any kind of union can be reached if governments do not offer compromises and start granting their people more rights.”

The new parliament, Saadoun added, will start dealing with pending issues from the old one like the “illegal” transfers reportedly made by former Prime Minister Mussallam al-Barrak to his private accounts in foreign countries.

“We are going to follow parliamentary committees that will investigate the matter until they reach the truth.”

The parliament, he explained, will also follow up on development plans passed by former parliaments and not yet implemented.

“None of those development plans were put into action and the Kuwaiti people are not willing to see the government act in the same way as before.”

Saadoun said that the parliament will use the majority opposition MPs to put pressure on the government and effect change.

“Opposition MPs met more than once to discuss implementing the reform we have always called for.”

Despite not taking part in the government, Saadoun pointed out, opposition MPs are willing to cooperate with the government provided that the latter starts putting the country on the right track.

“The government also has to implement all pending development plans and to restructure the budget.”

Saadoun added that corruption has been rampant in the government and that the parliament is going to take serious actions to redress that.

“I sent more than one direct message to the government asking it to put an end to corruption. Otherwise, we are going to confront it with all its drawbacks.”