Kuwaiti MPs slam new cabinet, urge Premier to quit

January 09, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

KUWAIT CITY: Several Kuwaiti MPs sharply criticised the cabinet yesterday, two days after its formation, saying it will fail to resolve problems in the oil-rich emirate, and urged the premier to quit.

Since early 2006, Kuwait has been in almost continuous political crisis, with a dozen cabinets quitting and parliament dissolved six times. “This is a strange cabinet. It is a cocktail that lacks harmony,” said MP Safa Al Hashem, a well-known critic of the prime minister, during a parliamentary debate.

Shia MP Saleh Ashour said “the formation of the cabinet takes place through consultations with people of influence and interests... No one is satisfied with this government which cannot be trusted to resolve our problems”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, on Monday carried out an expanded reshuffle that replaced seven ministers and affected six others in the 16-member cabinet, formed just five months ago.

Before the reshuffle, MPs had questioned several ministers over alleged mismanagement and corruption. During yesterday’s debate, some MPs still accused the new government of promoting corruption.

“How can we trust a government that promotes corruption ... We are very disgusted at the new cabinet line-up,” independent MP Yacoub Al Sane said.

“Today, the prime minister proves that he cannot run the country ... I call on the premier to rescue the country by quitting,” said MP Ali Al Rashed, until recently a well-known government supporter.

The reshuffle included a new oil minister, Ali al-Omair, a lawmaker who is a senior member of the Islamist Salaf Alliance. Commerce and industry minister Anas Al Saleh was also moved to the finance portfolio.

The number of Islamist ministers rose from two to four in the current cabinet. Besides the oil portfolio, Islamists head the ministries of Islamic affairs and justice, communications and health.