Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah speaks at the first parliament session held after elections, in Kuwait City. File / Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Kuwait government ministers submitted their resignation en masse to Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah on Tuesday, the government communications office said. The move came after some 30 lawmakers backed a no-confidence motion against the government this month.
The ministers quit after the recently elected members of parliament, more than 60% of them new faces, grilled the prime minister to protest his new cabinet appointments. The decision to reinstate the old parliament speaker stirred anger among new lawmakers.
The prime minister must now submit the resignations to the country's Emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who is widely expected to accept them.
The resignation of the government raises concerns that the Emir may dissolve parliament and force a second election in as many months.
The motion to question Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled, who has been premier since late 2019, was submitted by three MPs on Jan.5 in the first regular session of a new assembly in which the opposition made gains after two thirds of lawmakers lost seats in legislative polls last year.
More than 30 other MPs supported the request to question him on issues including forming a cabinet "not reflective" of poll results and allegations of government "interference" in electing the Speaker and members of parliamentary committees, according to the motion seen by Reuters.
During their interrogation of Sheikh Sabah last week, lawmakers accused him of staffing the cabinet with "provocative and unqualified members,” according to local media.
Other sore points included the choices for interior minister and justice minister, who opposed a draft law on Kuwait’s stateless people that parliament had hoped to pass.
Kuwait has a fully elected parliament, which enjoys wide legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office.
The 83-year-old Sheikh Nawaf is an elder statesman who has held high office for decades including the defence and interior ministries.
Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah on Wednesday named Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmad, deputy head of the country's National Guard, as crown prince of the US-allied OPEC member state.
Kuwait's state news agency said Sheikh Nawaf also received Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had lauded the late emir for fostering "moderation and balance".
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