Kuwaiti MPs may quiz PM next week
KUWAIT KUWAITI lawmakers will quiz the prime minister next week over issues linked to the collapse of the previous government, a ministry official said, a move highlighting discord in the month-old parliament.
Parliamentarian Saleh Ashour, who called for the questioning, has accused Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah of failing to investigate corruption allegations linked to the previous administration.
Kuwait’s information minister said the premier would deal with the questioning in a “positive and relaxed spirit,” according to comments carried by state news agency KUNA.
Parliamentarians have the option to call a no-confidence motion after the questioning, a move which could put the prime minister’s position at risk.
However it seems unlikely that opposition politicians, who won a majority of seats in February’s election, will take such a step as it would jeopardize their own newfound power if the push leads to parliament being dissolved.
The newly elected, mainly Islamist opposition is also fragmented. Political parties are banned, which means opposition politicians are forced to rely on forming blocs in parliament.
The move to quiz the highest- ranking minister so early in the legislative period suggests power struggles will continue to paralyse politics and stifle economic and social reforms in the oil-producing state.
Kuwait, a key regional US ally, is home to one of the region’s most outspoken and bickering parliaments.
February’s vote ushered in the fourth parliament in six years.
Political instability and the snail-like pace of reform have helped to scare off foreign investment.
A Kuwaiti court is investigating a complaint against former premier Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al- Sabah and a nephew of the emir over allegations of illicit financial transfers abroad, a source in the prosecutor’s office confirmed last month.
Sheikh Nasser’s government resigned last year after some opposition lawmakers alleged it had made a series of illegal financial transfers via Kuwait’s embassies abroad. He denied any wrongdoing at the time.
When the allegations first came to light protesters staged a series of demonstrations outside parliament that culminated in the storming of the chamber, forcing the government to resign and triggering the dissolution of the assembly.