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Kuwaiti cabinet resigns in new political crisis

Latest update : 2008-03-17

Kuwaiti cabinet ministers resigned en masse, according to KUNA news agency. The move is said to have come after ministers complained of a lack of cooperation from the parliament.

Kuwaiti cabinet ministers resigned en masse on Monday, the official news agency KUNA reported, in the latest political crisis to hit the oil-rich Gulf emirate.
  
"First deputy premier and defence minister and the rest of ministers have submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah," state minister for cabinet affairs Faisal al-Hajji said.
  
A number of MPs said the prime minister will submit the cabinet's resignation to deputy emir and crown prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Al-ahmad al-Sabah as the ruler is out of the country.
  
Parliamentary sources said the move came after ministers complained of a "lack of cooperation" from the outspoken parliament which was due to vote Tuesday on a law to increase Kuwaiti salaries by 50 dinars (188 dollars) a month.
  
The legislation was strongly opposed by the government which last month raised salaries of citizens by 120 dinars (450 dollars), an increase that was seen as inadequate by the opposition-dominated parliament.
  
Under the Kuwaiti constitution, the emir may either accept the cabinet's resignation and form a new government or dissolve parliament and call for early elections.
  
The last legislative election was in May 2006 following a standoff between parliament and the govemnment.
  
The emir has faced calls recently to sack the government, appoint a new premier and hold early parliamentary polls in the emirate, which has undergone a series of political crises in recent years.
  
Kuwait, the fourth largest OPEC producer, is experiencing sectarian tensions after activists from the Shiite minority held a rally to mourn former Lebanon's Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh, killed in a car bombing last month.
  
Leading liberal MP Ahmad al-Mulaifi last week said the government should go, and called for the reform of the ruling Al-Sabah family. He said the premier, a a nephew of the emir, had failed to carry out reforms and resolve the nation's crises.
  
Sheikh Nasser was appointed premier for the first time two years ago after Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah ascended to the helm following a power struggle.
  
Since then, Kuwait has undergone a series of political crises that forced the resignation of three governments, dissolving parliament and holding fresh elections in June 2006 and several ministers being grilled by MPs.
  
A number of MPs welcomed the cabinet resignation saying it could help to resolving the emirate's crises.
  
"The cabinet resignation is timely. The problem in Kuwait is that the government does not have a majority in parliament," Islamist MP Ahmad Baqer said.
  
"The cabinet resignation is a good news. We welcome holding fresh elections," independent MP Ali al-Deqbasi told reporters.

Date created : 2008-03-17

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