Monday, December 23, 2013

Kuwait is Again Government-less as Cabinet Ministers Resign

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait — Kuwait's Cabinet resigned on Monday, the country's official news agency reported, ahead of a reshuffle and plans by some legislators to submit a number of ministers to parliamentary grilling.
The resignation by the Cabinet, which included seven members of the ruling al-Sabah family, underscores the ongoing tensions between government ministers and parliament members in the small Gulf Arab nation.
For decades, Kuwait has allowed the most politically vibrant culture in the Gulf. Opposition lawmakers have a powerful forum in parliament, often summoning officials to be questioned on policies. Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Sabah has dissolved parliament in the past, however, when friction with the government became too high.
Members of parliament were planning on Tuesday to make inquiry requests targeting the ministers of municipality, social affairs, and education as well as a no-confidence motion against the planning minister.
The Cabinet was only four months old and was formed after parliamentary elections in July. Those elections were called after a constitutional court threw out the results of a December 2012 poll.
The Cabinet submitted its resignation only hours after the country's highest court issued a ruling that said July parliamentary elections were legal. If it had ruled otherwise, the body could have been dissolved.
KUNA quoted parliament speaker Marzouk al-Ghanem as saying Monday he had received a letter that all 16 ministers submitted their resignations. The emir is expected to accept them.
A statement by risk consultancy Eurasia Group said relations between the government and parliament are unlikely to improve significantly and the complicated policymaking environment will persist, in part because the emir will likely reappoint many of the same Cabinet ministers.
"In response, parliamentary inquiries will persist as will the risk of new parliamentary elections next year," the group said in a statement.

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