Kuwait MP files to quiz prime minister

Manama: A Kuwaiti lawmaker on Thursday filed a motion to grill Prime Minister Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah.

In the motion, MP Hamdan Al Azemi said the grilling will focus on Kuwait’s decline in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), financial excesses, the government’s laxity in implementing laws, the non-issuance of the executive regulations of some laws, the revocation of citizenship, the status of the Bidoon (stateless people) and the continuation of the international sports suspension.

Shaikh Jaber, 76, has been prime minister since 2011. He had served as Minister of Defense as well as Deputy Prime Minister.

He was first appointed as Prime Minister in December 2011. He was reappointed as Prime Minister in December 2012 following the parliamentary election and in November 2017 also in the aftermath of a parliamentary election.

Shaikh Jaber last year faced a marathon quizzing session that lasted until the early hours of the morning.

Allegations cited by the lawmakers included accused breaching state laws by withdrawing citizenship from Kuwaiti nationals, violating international conventions and treaties, appointing unqualified personnel at senior posts, increasing financial burdens on citizens and neglecting the equality principle.

He was also grilled about purported technical, administrative and financial irregularities.

However, at the end of the session, the lawmakers did not present a “non-cooperation” motion against the premier.

On Monday, MPs Omar Al Tabtabai and Abdul Wahab Al Babteen filed to quiz Oil Minister Bakheet Al Rasheedi on 10 allegations.

Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al Ganem confirmed the motion to grill Al Rasheedi and said it would be on May 1 as per the regulations that stipulate a 14-day period.

The two motions indicate that the apparent lull between the government and the parliament had come to an end and that tensions between them have come to the fore.

The deepening standoff was epitomized by the uncompromising stance taken by MP Al Tabtabai who raised the stakes by insisting he had four ‘Nos’: No to deleting any word from the grilling; no to holding it behind closed doors; no to referring the motion to the Constitutional Court; and no to moving the motion to the legislative committee.

In his statement, MP Al Babteen said it would not be acceptable if the minister decided to resign to avoid being grilled.

“You should ask those who pushed you into this situation why they did it,” he said addressing Al Rasheedi.

Under Kuwait’s bylaws, a grilling motion is shelved if the minister to be quizzed quits his post.

However, the oil minister reacted quickly to news of the motion and said he was ready for the quizzing. He added that he fully supported the rights of lawmakers to ask their questions.

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