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Kuwait may face political crisis after 4 lawmakers request to grill premier
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19:37, March 05, 2009

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Kuwait may face a fresh political crisis after four lawmakers filed requests to grill the prime minister.

The four members of parliament (MP) have said their grilling requests aimed to address issues such as indecisiveness of the current government, criticizing the government for its failure to adopt an effective financial strategy to counter the financial crisis.

They also accused the government of failing to well implement the constitution and allowing financial irregularities at the prime minister's office.

But some political analysts and columnists have questioned the intention of the MPs behind the grilling request, saying they are electorally motivated, which are not in the best interest of the nation.

Kuwait has a unicameral parliament represented by 50 MPs, who are elected by the people, while the 16-member cabinet is nominated by the prime minister, who in turn is nominated by the Emir who has the last say in the country's politics according to the constitution.

Following the four lawmakers' request, some MPs are expecting the dissolution of the parliament by the Emir within two days, while parliament Speaker Jassem Al-Khhorafi has indicated that the decision has not been made.

MP Saadoun Hammad Al-Oteibi said "an Emir's decree to dissolve the parliament is ready and will be issued at any moment. I tell my colleagues to prepare their tents for the new elections."

Other MPs said they heard the decision to dissolve the parliament was taken at a meeting late Tuesday night by senior members of the ruling family.

But Speaker Khorafi told reporters after a meeting with the Emir on Wednesday that "my understanding is that until now no decision has been reached for any specific action. The aim of the meeting of the ruling family was for the Emir to hear the developments in the country."

The new crisis came when the parliament is due to discuss a government-formulated five billion U.S. dollars economic rescue package on March 17, the day the four Islamist MPs hope to question the prime minister.

Many MPs have criticized the plan as being biased towards corporate giants and called for amendments.

One opposition bloc in the parliament earlier this month threatened to quiz the prime minister if the government ignores its amendments to the package.

Political analyst Shamlan Al-Essa said that the impasse over the passage of the economic rescue plan will be cleared if the parliament is dissolved.

The plan will be passed without amendments, which will be welcomed by Kuwaiti companies that have been hit hard by global economic meltdown, Essa added.

Because of political differences and disputes between the parliament and the cabinet, Kuwait's parliament has been dissolved four times since it was established in 1963.

It often happened in the past that cabinet ministers were subjected to grilling, which always led to the resignation of the then cabinet and the dissolve of parliament.

The Emir had dissolved the parliament in March 2008 to end a row between the parliament and the cabinet.

However, after fresh elections in May, the Emir reappointed Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the Emir, as the prime minister to forma new government. Sheikh Nasser became the prime minister in 2006.

Source: Xinhua



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