Amir accepts govt resignation; Assembly sessions canceled

HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday accepted the resignation of the prime minister and the Cabinet which was submitted last week, an Amiri decree said. HH the Amir also asked HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and ministers to continue in a caretaker role until a new government is formed.

The Amir is expected to soon start customary consultations with former speakers of the Assembly and former prime ministers before reappointing Sheikh Sabah to form the new Cabinet or naming a new prime minister. There is no time limit for the appointment of the next premier and the formation of the new Cabinet.

National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said the two regular parliamentary sessions scheduled for today and tomorrow have been canceled because there is no government and no minister is expected to attend, a precondition for Assembly meetings to be legal.

The Cabinet resigned after three opposition MPs filed to grill the prime minister over a number of reasons including the government’s alleged support for Ghanem to be re-elected as speaker for a third consecutive term. Opposition MPs have vowed to oust Ghanem, whom they accuse of siding with the government.

MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji expressed hope that the next Cabinet members will be selected from highly-qualified people. MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf called on opposition MPs to unite to achieve what he called “fundamental reforms”, topped by issuing a general pardon law for ex-MPs and activists who received long jail terms for storming the Assembly building in 2011. Around a dozen opposition former MPs and activists have been living in exile since the summer of 2018 to avoid serving the jail terms.

Hajraf also said the opposition must push to amend the electoral law which has fragmented the Kuwaiti people and also to protect the “pockets” of Kuwaiti people against the government’s austerity measures. He said savings of over KD 60 billion made when oil prices were high have been used to finance suspicious arms and other deals. The lawmaker accused the prime minister of being weak in confronting forces of corruption and failing to protect public funds.

MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari meanwhile asked the finance minister in a question if the ministry has received some $4 billion it had deposited at the Egyptian central bank to support the Egyptian economy. The lawmaker said the deposit had matured more than two years ago.