Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah presented the resignation of his Cabinet to Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah on Wednesday, days before the prime minister was due to be questioned in parliament over his choice of ministers and other issues.
The move comes just a day after Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al Ali Al Sabah submitted the resignation of all Cabinet members, “in light of current developments regarding the relation between the National Assembly and the government,” the official Kuwait News Agency said, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
According to Kuwait’s constitution, resignations must be submitted to the prime minister, who must then submit them to the emir for approval.
The move comes as 38 members of parliament backed a request to question the prime minister, who they accuse of violating the constitution when forming the government and of failing to present a Cabinet work program.
The oil-rich country has been shaken by political disputes between lawmakers and the ruling family-led government for over a decade, with parliament and cabinets having been dissolved several times.
A previous Cabinet stepped down in November 2019 amid accusations of corruption and infighting, while the last Cabinet was replaced in December 2020 elections.
Kuwait is the only Gulf state with a fully elected parliament, which enjoys wide legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office.
The country has the Gulf’s oldest elected parliament, but under the constitution, the emir has extensive powers and can dissolve the legislature at the recommendation of the government.
Like most Gulf countries, Kuwait’s economy and state budgets have been hit by both the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the low price of oil.
In December elections, the opposition or allied candidates won nearly half of the parliament’s 50 seats in elections.
The polls were the first since the new emir, Sheikh Nawaf, took office in September following the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Sabah, at the age of 91.
Kuwaitis have in recent years expressed their desire for reform in their country, where 70% of the 4.8-million-strong population are foreigners.
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