Kuwait’s information minister barely survives no-confidence vote

March 25, 2010
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Kuwait’s information minister barely survived a no-confidence vote by the parliament on Thursday.
Twenty three MPs voted against a motion submitted by ten lawmakers to oust Shaikh Ahmad Al Abdullah Al Subah, while 22 voted in its favour and three abstained.
The minister was last week accused by the 10 lawmakers of failing to deal with media that endeavoured to target national unity and cause social fractures.
The charges were made after a private television station beamed a talk show in which hosts allegedly denigrated tribes and said that many Bedouins broke the law by holding dual citizenship.
Several rallies staged by the Bedouins and supporters called for action from the government to ensure national unity.
The station was taken off the air and legal procedures were launched against its owner.
However, MPs last week pushed for the grilling of the information minister and their move split the parliament on how to vote.
Faisal Al Mislim, the first MP to take the floor on Thursday morning, called for a no-confidence vote, saying that the failure of the government to assume its legal and constitutional responsibilities had resulted in “the deviation of some media.”
“MPs have a significant duty to ensure that people respect the constitution. Abuses of the constitution are in fact abuses of the state,” he said.
MP Marzooq Al Ghanem, the second MP to take the floor, said that the minister had failed in carrying out his duties.
“It seems that the minister applies the laws according to his personal moods. A sect has been portrayed as traitors in the local media,” Al Ghanem said. “What is important is that the nation survives, and not the minister,” he argued as he called for the ousting of Shaikh Ahmad.
In his defense of the minister, MP Ali Al Rashed said that a no-confidence vote would undermine national unity.
He said that there was a feeling that those who opposed the minister were motivated by the importance of oil.
Shaikh Ahmad is also the minister of oil in the northern Arabian Gulf emirate.
Following the vote, the minister thanked the lawmakers for renewing their confidence in his abilities.
“I wish to thank all my brothers. This is an exercise of genuine democracy,” he said in a brief statement. “We are all working for the higher interests of Kuwait. I would like also to thank the media, especially the press, for their neutral coverage,” he told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
None of this year’s grilling of ministers, including that of the prime minister, and no-confidence votes has been successful.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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