Govt quits amid ‘infighting’ rumors, disputes with MPs

Amir accepts resignation – Assembly dissolution unlikely

KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah yesterday submitted his resignation to HH the Amir two days after MPs filed no-confidence motions against two ministers and amid alleged infighting within the Cabinet. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah accepted the resignation of the government and ordered the Cabinet to serve as a caretaker one until a new government is formed.

The Amir will now rename the same premier or appoint a new one to form the next Cabinet amid signs of strains in Assembly-government ties. Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem, who met HH the Amir yesterday, said dissolving the National Assembly is not seen as likely at present and accused the “government team” of not working in tandem. MP Saleh Ashour clearly said that there are “differences” within the Cabinet members that led to the resignation.

The outgoing Cabinet is one of the longest serving in Kuwait, which has been witnessing political disputes between the Cabinet and lawmakers since 2006 that repeatedly led to dissolving the Assembly and Cabinet resignations. Former finance minister Nayef Al-Hajraf resigned just before the start of the new Assembly term last month and his resignation was accepted. He quit to avoid facing yet another grilling over interest rates being charged by the pension agency from retired Kuwaitis.

MPs on Tuesday grilled Minister of Public Works Jenan Bushehri and Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah over alleged financial and administrative violations. Both grillings ended with MPs filing no-confidence motions against the two ministers. Bushehri announced her resignation as soon as she finished refuting charges against her and accused companies and contractors of using MPs to topple her. The interior minister’s request to have his grilling debate behind closed doors was rejected and he faced the questioning in public.

MPs blamed disputes among Cabinet ministers for the dramatic turn of events that eventually led to the resignation of the Cabinet. Opposition MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain welcomed the resignation and called for a comprehensive national reconciliation, early polls and the appointment of a new prime minister who should pave a new path. The lawmaker warned that the return of the same prime minister will result a grilling.

Opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri called for not returning Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh in the new Cabinet, insisting there is no use in the resignation of the government if the new Cabinet does not change course in running the country and in dealing with people. MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said the resignation was timely and insisted that the next Cabinet must attract people with vast experience in politics and administration. MP Abdullah Al-Kandari said the new Cabinet must be capable of achieving the aspirations of Kuwaitis, tackle corruption and stay away from infighting. This is the seventh government under Sheikh Jaber that resigned since he was first given the job in late 2011.

By B Izzak

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