Kuwait’s government resigns ahead of anticipated elections

The government in Kuwait has resigned in the past, particularly when faced with no-confidence votes and grilling of ruling family members. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 November 2019

Kuwait’s government resigns ahead of anticipated elections

  • An election is also expected for the 50-seat parliament in early 2020
  • Emir of Kuwait accepted the resignation Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti prime minister resigned on Thursday along with his cabinet amid allegations of infighting between ministers and criticism of their performance.
Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah "submitted the resignation of the cabinet to the emir... in order to allow for a cabinet reshuffle," government spokesman Tareq Al-Mazrem said.
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah accepted his resignation, the official KUNA news agency reported.
Minister of Finance Nayef Al-Hajraf resigned last month to avoid being questioned in parliament over violating Islamic law by charging interest on loans taken by retired Kuwaitis from the state-run pension agency.
And Public Works Minister Jenan Bushehri announced her resignation following a lengthy grilling in parliament during which she came under fire for alleged mismanagement of her portfolios and poor use of public funds.
On Tuesday, parliament also grilled Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, a member of the ruling family, over similar accusations and MPs filed a no-confidence motion to oust him.
Independent MP Saleh Ashour told AFP that as well as those criticisms, disputes between ministers over the current composition of the cabinet had also triggered the resignation.
Parliament speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem told reporters Thursday that "a large group of MPs believe that the problem lies in the government team because it is not homogenous".
He however ruled out the possibility that parliament could be dissolved by the emir.
After accepting the resignation, the emir can rename the outgoing premier or appoint a new head of government to form the cabinet, the eighth since 2011.
Kuwait is the only Gulf state with a fully elected parliament that enjoys wide legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office.
The  country has been shaken by political disputes between lawmakers and the ruling family-led government for over a decade, with parliament and cabinets dissolved several times.
A demonstration held outside parliament last week over alleged rampant corruption was reminiscent of past crises that have marred political life in the country.


Lebanese women march in Beirut against sexual harassment

Updated 3 sec ago

Lebanese women march in Beirut against sexual harassment

  • Protesters call for law allowing Lebanese women married to foreigners to pass their citizenship to their husbands and children
  • Women also protest against sexual harassment and bullying

BEIRUT: Scores of women marched through the streets of Beirut on Saturday to protest against sexual harassment and bullying and demanding rights including the passing of citizenship to children of Lebanese women married to foreigners.
The march started outside the American University of Beirut, west of the capital, and ended in a downtown square that has been witnessing daily protests for more than seven weeks.
Nationwide demonstrations in Lebanon broke out Oct. 17 against proposed taxes on WhatsApp calls turned into a condemnation of the country’s political elite, who have run the country since the 1975-90 civil war. The government resigned in late October, meeting a key demand of the protesters.
“We want to send a message against sexual harassment. They say that the revolution is a woman, therefore, if there is a revolution, women must be part of it,” said protester Berna Dao. “Women are being raped, their right is being usurped, and they are not able to pass their citizenship.”
Activists have been campaigning for years so that parliament drafts a law that allows Lebanese women married to foreigners pass their citizenship to their husbands and children.
Earlier this year, Raya Al-Hassan became the first woman in the Arab world to take the post of interior minister. The outgoing Cabinet has four women ministers, the highest in the country in decades.
Lebanon is passing through a crippling economic and financial crisis that has worsened since the protests began.
During the women’s protest in Riad Solh Square, a man set himself on fire before people nearby extinguished the flames. His motivation was not immediately clear and an ambulance came shortly afterward and evacuated him.
Also on Saturday, outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri appealed to more countries to help Lebanon in its crisis to import essential goods. The request made in a letter to the leaders of Germany, Spain and Britain, came a day after Hariri sent similar letters to other countries including Saudi Arabia, US, Russia and China.