Kuwaiti speaker and premier in rare public spat


"Political differences between me and the speaker started prior to the cabinet reshuffle last week," the premier said in statements carried by the official KUNA news agency.

"From the first cabinet I was asked to form (in February 2006), the speaker tried to convince me to include certain names in the government and I refused… He repeated his attempts and I always insisted on my constitutional powers."

The premier’s remarks came after speaker Jassem al-Khorafi lashed out at the government earlier in the day, saying that there were "a number of question marks hanging over the formation of the last cabinet."

"I was not consulted on the latest cabinet reshuffle. In the past I was consulted. This time, I was informed of the line-up after the cabinet was formed," Khorafi told Al-Arabiya news channel in an interview.

Khorafi, who is not a member of the opposition which controls parliament, at the opening of the new parliamentary term on Tuesday criticised the government as hesitant and indecisive.

Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, said in his statement on Saturday that he is not obliged under the constitution to consult the speaker in forming a government.

"I have no doubt that the speaker understands that by attempting to interfere in the formation of the cabinet and influencing its decisions, he oversteps his constitutional powers and far exceeds his political responsibility," he said.

This public dispute to hit the oil-rich Gulf state is the latest in a series of political crises that began after the death of late emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah in January last year.

Since then, the emirate has seen three governments resign, a fourth undergo a major reshuffle, the dissolution of parliament in May 2006 and fresh polls.

Sheikh Nasser reshuffled his cabinet last Sunday after three ministers resigned in the summer because of threats by parliament to hold them to account.


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