By B Izzak
KUWAIT: Cabinet members yesterday collectively submitted their resignations to HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, an official statement said yesterday. The statement said Sheikh Sabah yesterday received Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah and all other ministers. Sheikh Hamad then handed the premier the resignations of all the ministers, placing them at his disposal.
If the prime minister accepts the resignations, which is the most likely scenario, he will then submit his resignation and the resignations of the entire Cabinet to HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. It is up to HH the Amir to accept or reject the resignation of the Cabinet. In case he accepts the resignation, he will either ask Sheikh Sabah to form a new Cabinet or could ask another person.
The government has boycotted regular meetings of the National Assembly since last Wednesday, a day after three opposition lawmakers filed to grill the prime minister over a number of allegations, including the government’s support for the re-election of Marzouq Al-Ghanem as speaker despite strong opposition. Ministers have also boycotted meetings of Assembly panels since last Wednesday.
A number of opposition MPs have urged HH the Amir to appoint a new prime minister because Sheikh Sabah allegedly failed to respond to the outcome of last month’s general elections. Opposition MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf yesterday said the government has violated the constitution by boycotting the Assembly meetings without stepping down.
Meanwhile, MP Osama Al-Shaheen explained yesterday that a draft law he and four other MPs submitted on Monday to impose a 2.5 percent fee on money transfers out of Kuwait “does not target expats or low-income citizens”. The lawmaker said their bill is different from a similar bill filed in the previous Assembly which called for taxing remittances by expats only.
Shaheen said the law is targeting big businesses that make huge profits from contracts with Kuwait, then send their profits to foreign countries, thus depriving the domestic economy from benefitting from such profits. He said the bill exempts all personal transfers or those made for personal needs. Shaheen had expected that the government will collect some KD 100 million annually from such fees.
Separately, MP Farz Al-Mutairi submitted amendments to the election law calling to allow Kuwaiti voters to choose two candidates instead of one currently in Assembly elections. Kuwait is divided into five electoral constituencies and each constituency elects 10 MPs. Under the existing law, voters are allowed to pick only one candidate. The amendment wants to increase the choice to two candidates.
Before a controversial amendment in 2012, Kuwaiti voters were allowed to choose up to four candidates, a system that promoted opposition political groups that dominated the Assembly. The single-vote system drastically weakened the chances of opposition groups, which have for years boycotted the elections.