Kuwait lawmakers to grill oil, interior ministers

May 18, 2013

The record of months of cooperation between the government and the parliament in Kuwait looks in jeopardy today after two motions were filed to quiz the oil and interior ministers.

MPs Saadoun Hammad, Yacoub Al Sane and Nasser Al Merri on Monday pushed for the grilling of Oil Minister Hani Hussain over several alleged violations and acts of misconduct, particularly the payment of a $2.2 billion (Dh8.07 billion) penalty to US Dow Chemical after the government pulled out of a joint deal.

MPs Safa Al Hashem and Yousuf Al Zalzalah filed the motion against Interior Minister Shaikh Ahmad Al Humoud Al Sabah for his alleged failure to cooperate with the parliament and attempting to cover up a Kuwaiti “terror” cell having links with Islamists on trial in the United Arab Emirates.

The move by the five lawmakers, the most serious since the pro-government parliament was elected in December, has pushed the government to consider its options and fuelled rumours in the country about either the resignation of the cabinet or a limited reshuffle as a way out of the crisis.

Other claims circulating in Kuwait City referred to the suspension of the parliament for one month or even its dissolution.

However, with the landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court on the merit of December’s parliamentary elections due on June 16, the suspension or dissolution options looked remote.

Reports in the Kuwaiti capital pointed to a possible resignation of the government, claiming that the ministers have already informed Prime Minister Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak about their readiness to leave.

However, Parliament Speaker Ali Al Rashid said that he was not aware of the resignation of the cabinet.

“All options are on the table, but I have not been so far informed about any resignation by any minister,” he said. “The government has its constitutional choices and the parliament has its tools and options. However, matters now look fine,” he said.

MP Abdullah Al Maayouf ruled out both the dissolution of the parliament and the resignation of the government.

“I expect one of the two ministers on the grilling list to resign before he is called to face the quizzing,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Seyassah on Tuesday.

“However, I do insist on going ahead with the second grilling because there are important facts that should be revealed to the public.”

Other MPs said that they could not rule out any development in the situation.

MP Hammad Al Dossari said that he expected the government to push for the no-cooperation with the parliament motion, paving the way for its suspension while MP Khalil Al Saleh said that a cabinet reshuffle was the closest option, “unless there is some sort of political manoeuvring that would push the government to resign.”

Reports in Kuwait City said that the two grillings were expected after two weeks unless the parliament decided to delay the debate or the two ministers resigned or the cabinet stepped down.




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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