The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The government yesterday boycotted a National Assembly session, apparently in protest over an opposition-led grilling of the prime minister, prompting the cancellation of the session amid reports that the Cabinet has resigned. MPs, local media and online news bulletins reported HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah tendered the resignation of his Cabinet formed just three weeks ago, and it was reported that HH the Amir accepted the resignation.

Later in the day, HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah held talks with HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the prime minister and Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem. No details were published about the meetings. An announcement of the Cabinet's resignation is expected today.

The Cabinet reportedly resigned after three opposition lawmakers on Tuesday filed to grill the prime minister and that around 38 of the 50 elected lawmakers publicly announced they will back the grilling, well over the required majority to support a non-cooperation motion against the premier. In their grilling, opposition lawmakers Thamer Al-Suwait, Bader Al-Dahoum and Khaled Al-Otaibi accused the prime minister of ignoring the outcome of the general election by appointing "provocative and unqualified" ministers in the new Cabinet.

They also accused him of interfering in the election of the speaker by supporting the candidate whom the majority of lawmakers rejected, saying this reflects a "dangerous attitude". They also accused him of violating the constitution by failing to submit the government's program as required under the constitution.

Leading opposition lawmaker Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said yesterday that there were reports about the resignation of the Cabinet, adding that the next Cabinet must end its alliance with "forces of corruption" and should cooperate only with the people. He called on the prime minister to decline to form the next Cabinet.

He also warned any future premier against re-appointing at least three ministers "who cause crises": Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh, Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah and Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah. Muwaizri warned that if the next government continues on the old course, lawmakers will continue their non-cooperation.

Yesterday's developments came after a chaotic Assembly session on Tuesday which was cut short following heated debates as opposition MPs pressed to form an investigation committee to probe events that took place at the Assembly's opening session on Dec 15.