Kuwait’s prime minister, Sheikh Nasser Mohamed al-Ahmed al-Sabah plans to stand up to parliamentary questioning over alleged financial irregularities on 8 December, according to a source close to the government.

It emerged in November that Sheikh Nasser, who has headed the country’s government since 2006, had decided to stand up to the questioning or ‘grilling’, which has been a contentious issue during his three years in government (MEED 23:11:09).

In the past, Sheikh Nasser and his handpicked government have resigned rather than face public interrogations.

The government is in negotiations with members of parliament over how the grilling will take place. Sources on both sides of the debate say that the prime minister wants to meet only with the MPs that submitted the interrogation requests behind closed doors.

A number of conservative, nationalist, and Islamist-affiliated MPs have said that the questioning must take place in public.

The MPs want to question the prime minister over allegations of financial irregularities made by Faisal al-Mislem, an conservative Islamist MP. In October, Al-Mislem submitted a 34-page document to the National Assembly claiming that in June 2008 Sheikh Nasser paid KD200,000 ($701,000) for undisclosed reasons to a third party, who was then an MP.

Under Kuwait’s constitution, MPs can file applications to publicly interrogate members of the cabinet up to and including the prime minister. Sheikh Nasser is a nephew of the country’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah.

“It looks like he is really going to stand,” says the government source. “We will know for sure by tomorrow [7 December].”

Sheikh Nasser al-Ahmed al-Sabah will be the first senior GCC leader to submit to questioning by a publicly-elected body