KUWAIT CITY: The Kuwaiti Emir H H Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Sheikhyesterday asked the outgoing prime minister to form a new government following polls boycotted by the opposition, state media said, after a second night of street protests.
Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah, a senior member of the ruling Al Sabah family, submitted the resignation of his five-month-old cabinet on Monday, as required by the constitution after weekend polls.
The premier should form the cabinet before December 16 when the new parliament is scheduled to hold its opening session.
Sheikh Jaber, 69, was appointed premier in November last year after prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah, a nephew of the emir, quit following a dispute with the opposition and allegations of corruption. Saturday’s snap poll, the second this year, was boycotted by the Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition in protest at an amendment to the electoral law. The opposition has demanded that the new parliament, dominated by pro-government MPs, must be abolished and the amendment to the law be scrapped because it breached the constitution.
The opposition plans to hold a demonstration on Saturday but youth activists staged street protests on Monday and Tuesday nights, in several areas at the same time.
In Tuesday’s protests, activists clashed with police as they took to the streets in at least eight areas of the oil-rich Gulf state. Police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons to disperse the protesters.
The Interior Ministry said it would take all necessary measures to prevent “unauthorised assembly” in Kuwait after a series of snap demonstrations outside the capital. As on Monday, clashes continued until the early hours of the morning. Activists said a number of protesters were wounded and several others arrested.
The December 1 election was the second this year in the Opec state, where a series of assemblies have collapsed due to a long-running power struggle between the parliament and the cabinet, in which the emir’s relatives hold the top posts.
While the new parliament is expected to be more cooperative with the government than its predecessor because of the opposition boycott, the election proved divisive. Turnout was around 40 percent, the lowest ever in Kuwait and the opposition movement, made up of youth activists and opposition politicians, has promised more protests.Agencies