10 opposition MPs file no-confidence motion against interior minister

KUWAIT: Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah and MP Riyadh Al-Adasani, who grilled him in parliament, walk hand-in-hand after the session at the National Assembly late Tuesday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Lawmakers and activists yesterday demanded an immediate halt to what they claim is infighting within groups in the Cabinet exposed by the outcome of grillings on Tuesday that forced a minister to resign. The grillings exposed what MPs and activists say is a clear struggle among factions within the Cabinet, while some MPs accused their colleagues of corruption.

Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Housing Jenan Bushehri reiterated her defense over her decision to resign after she was grilled by MP Omar Al-Tabtabaei over alleged financial and administrative irregularities. The minister said on Twitter that she confronted the "MPs of companies and interests" in the ministries of public works and housing. "Yesterday I confronted them in the National Assembly and to me they looked like tools who sold the nation," the minister said.

Following the grilling on Tuesday, Bushehri said she refuted all the allegations but the "lawmakers of contracting companies" were more powerful in the Assembly, adding that she was happy to pay the price for defending the nation and Kuwaiti citizens. The minister announced her resignation after she completed her arguments and sent it to the prime minister, apparently after two groups of lawmakers, each consisting of 10 MPs, filed no-confidence motions against her. But according to the law, only one motion can be filed at a time. MPs needed 25 votes to dismiss the minister out of office and parliamentary sources said the number was ready.

Later in the same session, 10 opposition MPs filed a no-confidence motion against Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah following a grilling over violations. The voting is scheduled to take place on Nov 20. MP Yousef Al-Fadhalah said what happened in the session clearly shows that there is infighting in the government, adding that the resignation of Bushehri was more to do with issues related to the grilling of the interior minister than her own grilling. He called for infighting among government factions to stop immediately.

MP Khaled Al-Shatti charged that the session exposed a number of MPs who work for contractors and companies to boost their bank accounts. He said the minister paid the price for reforms, adding that "we should be cautious of corrupt MPs who pretend to be reformists".

Opposition MP Mohammad Al-Mutair said that after last week's protest and what happened in the Assembly session, the government must revise its calculations and should wisely read what is happening. He said the first step the government should take is to reconcile with the people by excluding those who sow divisions and only serve their interests. He said the government should work to pardon former MPs and activists who were jailed for fighting corruption.

By B Izzak