Kuwait parliament suspended by Emir

19 June 2012

Kuwait cabinet reshuffle or resignation expected

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabeh has suspended the country’s national assembly for one month in the face of increased tension between the government and parliament, just four months after parliamentary elections in February.

Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah is widely expected to submit his government’s resignation to the Emir, according to local media.

Another option would be to reshuffle the existing post. The government was only sworn in by the emir on 14 February and is the second government under Sheikh Jaber, who was appointed in December 2011.

One cabinet minister has already resigned. Ahmad al-Rujaib, Kuwait’s minister of social affairs and labour, tendered his resignation on 12 June, following motions filed by some members of parliament to question him. The prime minister accepted the resignation on 18 June.

Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali resigned in May after a parliamentary grilling over allegations of financial and administrative irregularities.

Ministers have repeatedly bemoaned the government’s inability to counter the grilling motions.

Opposition blocs hold a majority in parliament and have been pushing for inclusion in the government. According to Kuwait’s constitution, only one minister has to be drawn from the National Assembly. The opposition is now pressing for at least nine ministers.

The ruling Al-Sabah family maintains four key positions: the offices of the ministries of defence, information, interior and foreign affairs.

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