Kuwait government set to quit over questioning: sources

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2011 2:39 PM
Kuwait government set to quit over questioning: sources

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait's cabinet is expected to quit Thursday after lawmakers asked to grill three ministers, the latest in a series of challenges by an unusually assertive Arab parliament that have delayed important economic reforms.

Kuwait's parliament, the most outspoken in a Gulf region mostly dominated by ruling families, has triggered numerous cabinet resignations or reshuffles through questionings.

Parliamentary sources said the cabinet was set to submit its resignation after lawmakers asked to question three ministers who are ruling family members, including the oil exporter's energy minister, who is also the information minister.

The sources said they expected the Gulf state's ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, to reappoint Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah to form another cabinet.

Kuwait's oil and information minister has been asked by a parliamentarian to answer questions about an alleged failure to perform his duties, state news agency KUNA said Tuesday.

Lawmaker Faisal al-Duwaisan made the request of Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, who is also a nephew of the ruling emir.

Questioning about his duties as information minister was not expected to affect his post as the OPEC member's oil minister.

While grilling ministers is an everyday occurrence in most parliaments in the world, in Kuwait the questioning is more akin to a direct challenge to the individual and an indirect challenge to the ruler, who has the last say in politics.

Kuwait's emir has in the past dissolved parliament to prevent questioning of the prime minister.

Sheikh Ahmad survived a no-confidence vote last year after a lawmaker questioned his alleged failure to impose financial monitoring laws on licensed print and broadcast media.

He was named oil minister of the world's fourth-largest oil exporter in 2009 -- the fifth oil minister in four years.

Changing the oil minister rarely has any effect on Kuwait's energy policy, which is set by a council that includes oil industry and government officials.

(Reporting by Eman Goma and Mahmoud Harbi; editing by Mark Heinrich)