Kuwait’s political situation shrouded in mystery

May 18, 2013

The mystery surrounding the political situation in Kuwait has put both the government and the parliament in a fix over developments in the country four weeks ahead of a landmark Constitutional Court ruling.

Relations between the parliament elected in December and the government appointed shortly afterwards soured on Monday ending a six-month honeymoon that had been hailed as among the most rewarding times in the country’s modern history.

Five lawmakers filed two separate motions to grill the oil and interior ministers over alleged financial and administrative irregularities in their ministries. The MPs made vociferous remarks about the tough quizzing, the levels of the violations and the inability or unwillingness of the ministers to address them.

However, the government responded by boycotting the parliament sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday in a show of solidarity with the two ministers who would take the stand.

Reports in the capital Kuwait City said that several ministers handed in their resignation to the prime minister, but claims that the government had resigned were denied by the parliament Speaker. Under local rules, only the country’s emir can accept or reject the ministers’ resignations.

Options on the table for the cabinet include allowing the two ministers to go through the quizzing, pushing for the suspension of the parliament sessions for one month as is allowed under Article 106 of the constitution or handing a mass resignation to the emir.

Wild rumours, mainly on the internet, supported each of the options, but no statement has been issued.

Parliament Speaker Ali Al Rashid however ruled out a freeze on the activities of the legislative house.

“The claim that Article 106 will be used is not true,” he said on Wednesday. “It may be the wish of some people, but it is not being considered,” he said following a meeting he held with the prime minister.

Al Rashid said that the lawmakers would meet on Thursday in an extraordinary session to discuss the situation, but refused to give details, stressing that there would be no clashes with the government.

“Everything will be as usual and there will be no clashes. In all cases, grilling ministers cannot be considered as clashes. It is a constitutional right and it will remain on the agenda of the parliament,” he said.

The hesitation in Kuwait to wait and not to rush into a clearly chartered option could be attributed to the fact that the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, is scheduled to deliver on June 16 its verdict on the constitutionality of the December election of the sitting parliament.

The elections are at the core of the bitter standoff between the government and the opposition that has rocked the country and divided the society.

For the opposition, the December elections should not have been allowed to go ahead after it disputed the merit of a decree that amended the controversial electoral law and reduced the number of ballots a voter could cast from four to one.

For the government, the amendment was a much-needed move to align Kuwait with international standards and do away with a practice that favoured alliances more than merit.




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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