Kuwait emir accepts minister’s resignation ahead of scheduled grilling

June 13, 2011

Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber on Monday accepted the resignation of Shaikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of State for Development Affairs and Minister of State for Housing Affairs, the state minister for cabinet affairs said.

Shaikh Ahmad has reportedly opted to quit before a planned quizzing by opposition MPs over alleged financial and legal irregularities related to public funds in sports and housing.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Mohammad Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah was appointed to replace Shaikh Ahmad temporarily, the minister said.

Parliament Speaker Jasem Al Khorafi said that Shaikh Ahmad’s grilling planned for the parliamentary session on Tuesday has been scraped off the agenda.

“There will be debate over the grilling or the report on its constitutionality,” he said, quoted by Kuwait News Agency. “I would like to thank Shaikh Ahmad for his immense contribution to the development of Kuwait and I am sure that he will continue to serve his country,” he said.

However, the parliament will take up the motion to grill the prime minister presented by three lawmakers, Al Khorafi said.

Foreign Minister Shaikh Mohammad Al Sabah was asked to oversee Shaikh Ahmad’s duties until a new minister is appointed.

No reason was given for Shaikh Ahmad’s decision to quit, but local media have said he was locked in a power struggle with Prime Minister Shaikh Nasser Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah, another senior royal.

During a parliamentary session on May 31, MPs said to be close to the premier voted against a request by Shaikh Ahmad to refer a grilling against him to a parliamentary panel to investigate whether it breached the constitution.

The panel ruled on Saturday that his grilling, in which Shaikh Ahmad would be accused of corruption and mismanagement, was in line with the constitution and should be debated in parliament on Tuesday.

Shaikh Ahmad, 48, was first appointed to the Cabinet in 2001 as information minister. In 2003, he was moved to the energy portfolio and two years later was elected president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

In July 2006, Shaikh Ahmad was dropped from the Cabinet following a showdown with the opposition in parliament, but he was reinstated three years later and given the post of deputy premier for economic affairs.

For the past two years, Shaikh Ahmad has been responsible for implementing a $112-billion four-year development plan of mega projects to transform Kuwait into a regional financial and trade hub.

However, implementation of the projects has faced delays, mainly because of continued political crises in Kuwait which has amassed surpluses nearing $300 billion thanks to high oil prices.

The prime minister and Shaikh Ahmad are cousins and nephews of the emir, Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

Analysts and MPs blame the constant political crises in Kuwait on infighting within the Al Sabah family which has ruled the Gulf state for more than 250 years.

Sixteen opposition MPs on Friday signed a document calling for the removal of the prime minister and Shaikh Ahmad, holding them both responsible for political instability. Parliament has 50 members.

Youth activists have also staged rallies every Friday for the past four weeks to press for the removal of the prime minister, accusing him of failing to fight corruption and failing to run the country.

For the past five years since Shaikh Nasser was appointed premier, six cabinets have been forced to resign and parliament was dissolved three times.

Opposition MPs are due to question the prime minister on Tuesday over allegations that he favoured good ties with Iran over relations with Kuwait’s partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

- With inputs from agencies




About the author

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

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