Two Kuwait MPs quit over right to question PM

Photo: Two Kuwait MPs quit over right to question PM / Arabic region

Two more Kuwaiti legislators have resigned in protest at the parliament's refusal to question the prime minister on corruption allegations, bringing to five the number of MPs who have quit over the issue, Al Jazeera reported.

Ali al-Rashed, a former parliamentary speaker, and Safa al-Hashem, the only female MP in the 50-member house, said on Sunday that they had resigned because the situation in the Gulf state had 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 polticians 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 emirate and took him to task for the temporary closure of two newspapers, claiming the move was aimed at stifling freedoms.

Parliamentary speaker Marzouk al-Ghanem, speaking in an interview with Al-Rai television on Saturday night, said the resignations were a co-ordinated 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 that he expected that more would quit.

The speaker said on 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.

He 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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