Kuwait cabinet resigns after parliament disputes

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait´s government resigned on Monday three months after it was sworn in, state media reported, following disputes with lawmakers that have plunged the oil-rich Gulf state into political paralysis.

The outgoing cabinet is the third to be formed by Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf al-Ahmed Al-Sabah -- son of the country´s 85-year-old ruler -- since he took the helm of the government in August.

The prime minister submitted the cabinet´s resignation to Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the official KUNA news agency said. The resignation nullified plans by lawmakers to question two ministers on Tuesday, over management of state finances and a debt relief bill that would see the state buy personal loans of Kuwaiti citizens.

Lawmakers had been pressing the government to approve the bill, that ministers argued would be a heavy cost to the state. Saleh Ashour, a member of parliament, criticised the resignation, calling it a “retreat in the face of political problems.”

“It would have been better if the government attended the parliament session,” and faced questioning, he told AFP. The sixth government in just three years, it was sworn-in in October with the aim of fighting corruption and tackling fiscal reforms, after the opposition reaped major gains in parliamentary elections.

The only fully elected parliament in the Gulf, Kuwait´s National Assembly has been fraught with repeated crises between the executive and legislature, with September´s elections marking the sixth in a decade. The last elections saw Kuwaitis elect an opposition-led parliament once again.

The opposition has regularly accused ministers from the royal family of mismanagement and corruption.Kuwait has the most open political system in the Gulf region, with a parliament wielding power to pass legislation and question ministers, although senior posts are occupied by ruling family members.