Kuwaiti parliament could be suspended for up to two years


Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - Page 6

The Kuwaiti parliament could be suspended for up to two years after the Gulf state’s Cabinet resigned over a political dispute with MPs, local newspapers reported yesterday.

Quoting from “well-informed sources,” Al-Qabas newspaper said the most likely scenario to resolve political crises that have rocked the oil-rich emirate for the past three years would be to suspend parliament.

Al-Siyassah said the move could be accompanied by a number of measures to “put the Kuwaiti house in order.”

A suspension would see Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolve the 50-seat assembly, but not call for new elections within 60 days as required by the Kuwaiti Constitution.

Since embracing parliamentary democracy in 1962, the Kuwaiti assembly has been suspended twice — in 1976 for five years and then in 1986 for six years — because of strained relations between the government and members of parliament.

Parliamentary Speaker Jassem al-Khorafi warned at a public rally on Monday that the emirate was “passing through a dark night,” and “a dark cloud was hovering over us.”

Khalaf al-Enezi, an independent MP, told reporters yesterday the “emir has the right to suspend parliament if he finds there is political chaos in the country.”

But Islamist members of parliament Daifallah Buramia said that “suspending parliament will increase tension and lead the country into a dark tunnel.”

The Kuwaiti ruler on Monday accepted the government’s resignation and asked it to run the country’s urgent matters until a new government was formed.

The resignation came after five Islamist MPs filed three requests to grill Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir’s nephew, over allegations of mismanagement, breach of the Constitution and misuse of public funds.