Kuwaiti Cabinet quits over grillings


The Amir asked Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and the rest of the Cabinet to continue running "urgent matters" until a new government is formed.

Minister of the Amiri Diwan Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said that the prime minister and other minister submitted their resignation to the Amir yesterday evening and it was accepted. Private television channels said the resignation letter accused a number of MPs of escalating political tension in the country and misusing "constitutional tools.

Observers are speaking of three possible options – either the Amir appoints a new prime minister who forms a new Cabinet, or the Amir dissolves the National Assembly and calls for fresh elections, or the Amir suspends parliamentary life for a period of one or two years. Any of these options is expected to be undertaken as early as today or before the end of the week.

The government was forced to resign after it failed to find a way out to face three requests to grill the prime minister filed by five Islamist MPs in the past two weeks. The three grillings accused the prime minister of mismanagement, constitutional violations and misuse of public funds by his office. He was also accused of being responsible for demolishing mosques. It was the first time in Kuwait’s history that a prime minister faced three grillings at the same time.

Since his appointment as prime minister in early February 2006, Sheikh Nasser has faced three grilling requests. The first one was in 2006 and led to dissolving the Assembly and holding fresh elections. The second one was in November last year and as a result, the government resigned and a new Cabinet was formed in mid-January.

The government that resigned yesterday was the fifth of Sheikh Nasser in the past three years. He also made two major reshuffles in this short period. Sheikh Nasser was constantly under political pressure with criticism coming from all quarters – Islamists, the Popular Action Bloc and even liberals and independents. Many MPs have openly called for his resignation, the latest being yesterday when MP Dhaifallah Buramia said he has failed and should be replaced.

I personally expect parliament to be dissolved or bring a new Cabinet headed by a new prime minister. The crisis has reached a stage which requires to change the government," political analyst Shamlan Al-Eissa said. "All options are open. Some say the Amir might appoint a new prime minister," said a Western diplomat. "Parliament is the cause of the crisis. Deputies only focus on their own agenda and supervision, not legislation – Islamists and even liberal MPs," said Ali Al-Baghli, a former oil minister.
Several bills such as a plan to set up a financial regulator have been delayed by the political crisis.

Some observers said a way out of the series of political crises that have engulfed the country in the past few years is to recombine the posts of crown prince and prime minister which were split in 2003 after the then crown prince and prime minister, the late Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah fell ill. They said that it is likely that HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah might be appointed as prime minister too. That would give protection to the post of the prime minister against grillings by

Commenting on the government’s resignation, Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi said the country was passing through a dark cloud and prayed to God to save the country. He however said that he will convene the regular Assembly session today to inform MPs that the government has resigned.

The new Secretary General of the National Democratic Alliance Khaled Al-Fadhalah welcomed the government’s resignation but warned against a "coup against the constitution," a reference to reported plans to suspend the Assembly. Under the constitution, if the Assembly is dissolved, fresh elections must be held within two months. If no fresh elections are called, this would mean a suspension of the Assembly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *