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Two more Kuwaiti MPs quit over refusal to question PM

By AFP - May 04,2014 - Last updated at May 04,2014

KUWAIT CITY — Two Kuwaiti lawmakers resigned on Sunday, bringing to five the number of MPs who have quit in protest at the parliament’s refusal to question the prime minister on corruption allegations.

MP Ali Al Rashed, a former parliament speaker, and MP Safa Al Hashem, the only female lawmaker in the 50-member house, said they resigned because the situation in the Gulf state has reached a “deadlock”.

“Today, the situation has reached a deadlock. The deviation in the use of monitoring and legislation powers in parliament has led to killing the questioning tool and silencing MPs,” the two lawmakers said in their resignation letter.

On Wednesday, opposition MPs Riyadh Al Adasani, Abdulkarim Al Kundari and Hussein Al Mutairi resigned after the pro-government parliament rejected their demand to question the prime minister over allegations he gave cash handouts to lawmakers.

The three MPs blamed Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, for deteriorating public services in the oil-rich Gulf state and took him to task for the temporary closure of two newspapers, claiming the move was aimed at stifling freedoms.

Parliament speaker Marzouk Al Ghanem, speaking in an interview with Al Rai television on Saturday night, said the resignations were a coordinated conspiracy to “dismantle institutions in the country”, including an attempt to force the dissolving of parliament.

Ghanem also said that a number of other MPs are under tremendous pressure to resign and expected that more would quit.

The speaker said Sunday that he met Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who has the sole authority to dissolve parliament.

“The emir reaffirmed total backing and full confidence in the national assembly ... and dissolving the assembly now is totally ruled out,” Ghanem told reporters outside parliament.

Ghanem said the emir also stressed that any attempt to destabilise the country will fail.

Under Kuwaiti law, parliament has 10 days to study the resignations. If it accepts them, by-elections must be held within two months.

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