Kuwait Cabinet Resigns Amid Corruption Brouhaha
The government of oil-rich Kuwait resigned Monday amid an acrimonious dispute with opposition MPs, lawmaker Khaled al-Sultan said.
"The Kuwaiti cabinet has resigned and the resignation has been accepted by the emir," the Islamist opposition MP informed reporters outside parliament.
"We are waiting for the appointment of a new prime minister before parliament is dissolved in order to be assured of fair elections," the lawmaker added.
The announcement came after Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah chaired an emergency cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to discuss the emirate's latest political crisis.
Sheikh Nasser, 71, is set to be questioned in parliament by three opposition MPs pursuant to allegations of graft. He has been accused of transferring public funds into his overseas accounts. The government has denied the charges.
Unlike much of the Arab world prosperous Kuwait – the world's girthiest country – has managed to ride out the so-called Arab Spring with little unrest. Local observers say Kuwaits, who are well-fed and relatively affluent, are generally averse to revolution.
However, protesters stormed Kuwait's parliament decrying widespread corruption on November 16, prompting the emir to order the security services to "restore calm." Nasser's resignation was the protesters' principle demand.
The dissolution of the cabinet came ahead of a planned mass rally later Monday by opposition groups demanding Nasser's resignation, and is broadly seen as a means for the ruling family to avoid further unrest.
Observers familiar with Kuwait, however, say Nasser's resignation is unlikely to be taken seriously, or keep him out of the halls of power in Kuwait City for very long. Such resignations are, they say, a hackneyed political shell game played by the House of al-Sabah.
Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir, was appointed to the post in February 2006 and has so far resigned seven times since then due to political turmoil. Parliament has been dissolved on three occasions over the same period.