Kuwait PM faces no-cooperation vote on June 23

June 14, 2011

Kuwait’s prime minister will face his second no-cooperation motion this year after 10 lawmakers Tuesday began parliamentary proceedings to have him resign.

The motion was filed after Prime Minister Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah was subjected to a lengthy grilling by opposition MPs Waleed Al Tabatabai, Mohammad Hayef and Mubarak Al Waalan over what they perceived as the government’s bias for Iran and against common interests with the other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The grilling demand was made hours after Shaikh Nasser introduced his latest cabinet.

Al Tabatabai said that at least 18 lawmakers supported the no-cooperation motion to be discussed by parliament on June 23. The motion will need at least 25 votes in the 50-member house to pass.

If passed, it will be referred to the Emir who will either dissolve parliament and call for new elections or replace the prime minister. Shaikh Nasser was appointed five years ago, but has faced repeated standoffs with the opposition.

Three key issues

Shaikh Nasser’s questioning session yesterday focused on three issues and was held behind closed doors on the request of the government.

Sources said that 25 lawmakers and 15 ministers endorsed the call for a secret grilling, while 24 MPs voted to keep it open to the public and the media.

Al Tabatabai, who spoke on the issue of ‘harm to relations with the GCC countries’, said that Kuwaitis would always stand by Bahrain, while Hayef highlighted “Iran’s growing role in the region” and Al Waalan talked about the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the GCC.


Hayef, known for his strong opposition to Iranian politics, was particularly virulent in his speech, saying that the “Iranian provocations were clear and could not be denied.

“In spite of all that, our government receives the Iranian foreign minister and extends a hand for cooperation as if the case of the espionage network was over despite claims by our foreign minister that it amounted to a conspiracy against the security of Kuwait,” he was quoted by the Al Aan news portal as saying.

Bitter standoff

Kuwait and Iran had a bitter standoff after a Kuwaiti court sentenced two Iranians to death for their alleged role in a spy ring working for Tehran. Iran, however, denied the claims with its president saying that there was nothing to spy on in Kuwait.

A visit by Iran’s foreign minister eased the tension, especially after the two countries agreed to send back their recalled ambassadors.

Talking to reporters after the no-cooperation decision, Shaikh Nasser said that he appreciated the high level of democracy prevailing in Kuwait since its independence.

“This is democracy and this is the constitution,” Shaikh Nasser said after the seven-hour grilling, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

In early January, Shaikh Nasser narrowly survived a no-cooperation motion after 25 lawmakers voted against the motion seeking to oust him from power.

On a day of high drama, the opposition garnered 22 votes, three short of the tally required to carry the motion.




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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