Fresh clash between government and parliament in Kuwait looming

May 30, 2010
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Kuwait is apparently set for a fresh clash between lawmakers and the government after an opposition MP on Sunday filed to quiz the prime minister over failure to tackle environment pollution.

“This is mainly a humanitarian quizzing. I have tried all ways to resolve the pollution issue, but to no avail,” Khalid Al Tahous, MP for the Popular Action Bloc, said after he filed a 19-page request to question Shaikh Nasser Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah. “The grilling is to highlight how the state laws have not been applied and how people who have abused the system and caused the deterioration of living conditions in the Ali Sabah Al Salem Area (formerly Um Haiman) have not been held responsible for their acts. I do hope that the MPs would get familiar with the grilling before they issue any judgement.”

Al Tahous had often said that he would push for the parliament grilling of the government if it did not move to tackle the pollution problem affecting several residential areas in the area, located around 55 kilometres south of Kuwait City.

“I want to honour my commitment first announced on October 21, 2009, to help put an end to the pains of the residents of the Ali Sabah Al Salem Area by applying the law and shutting down all factories that flout the laws and regulations and cause the pollution,” Al Tahous said. “There has been an alarming increase in the number of pollution-related diseases and the government is responsible for the strict application of the law and should be held responsible for any violation.”

Thousands of students this month challenged a ban from their school authorities and boycotted classes and staged a rally calling for an end to the excessive pollution affecting them. Several oil facilities are also located in the area inhabited by around 50,000 people.

The move to grill the prime minister will have to be approved by parliament.

Shaikh Nasser became last December the first sitting prime minister to be grilled in the Arab world over alleged financial irregularities. He however survived the six-hour questioning in a secret session for six hours after the parliament voted in favour of holding the grilling behind closed doors.

The government has survived several questionings amid calls by angry lawmakers to dissolve the parliament and call for fresh elections as a means to put an end to the tension between some MPs and the government. However, the prime minister has repeatedly said that his government was ready to face any questioning by any MP.

Since February 2006, parliament has been dissolved three times because of disputes with the government.

In April, the emir launched an unprecedented attack on the parliament, accusing it of stalling development.

“Parliament has disappointed the aspirations of the Kuwaiti people,” Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said. “It has wasted a golden opportunity and too much time discussing issues totally far away from development projects. What the people say, that parliament has obstructed development and has been engaged in impotent political debates, is true and this was acknowledged by the lawmakers themselves,” he said.

 

         

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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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