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Kuwaiti MPs criticise new Cabinet, urge PM to quit

By AFP - Jan 08,2014 - Last updated at Jan 08,2014

KUWAIT CITY –– Several Kuwaiti MPs sharply criticised the Cabinet on Wednesday, two days after its formation, saying it will fail to resolve problems in the oil-rich emirate, and urged the premier to quit.

Since early 2006, Kuwait has been in almost continuous political crisis, with a dozen Cabinets quitting and parliament dissolved six times.

“This is a strange Cabinet. It is a cocktail that lacks harmony,” said MP Safa Al Hashem, a well-known critic of the prime minister, during a parliamentary debate.

Shiite MP Saleh Ashour said “the formation of the Cabinet takes place through consultations with people of influence and interests... No one is satisfied with this government which cannot be trusted to resolve our problems”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, on Monday carried out an expanded reshuffle that replaced seven ministers and affected six others in the 16-member Cabinet, formed just five months ago.

Before the reshuffle, MPs had questioned several ministers over alleged mismanagement and corruption.

During Wednesday’s debate, some MPs still accused the new government of promoting corruption.

“How can we trust a government that promotes corruption ... We are very disgusted at the new Cabinet line-up,” independent MP Yacoub Al Sane said.

“Today, the prime minister proves that he cannot run the country ... I call on the premier to rescue the country by quitting,” said MP Ali Al Rashed, until recently a well-known government supporter.

The reshuffle included a new oil minister, Ali Al Omair, a lawmaker who is a senior member of the Islamist Salaf Alliance. Commerce and Industry Minister Anas Al Saleh was also moved to the finance portfolio.

The number of Islamist ministers rose from two to four in the current Cabinet. Besides the oil portfolio, Islamists head the ministries of Islamic affairs and justice, communications and health.

The reshuffle came after the constitutional court last month rejected two petitions to nullify July parliamentary polls and dissolve the five-month-old assembly.

The ruling, which cannot be challenged, means that the current parliament may become the first since 2003 to complete a full four-year term.

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