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Kuwaiti PM survives vote of no confidence 5, January 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait.
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Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammmed, a nephew of the Emir, today survived a vote of no confidence. This is despite small rallies outside MPs’ houses to pressure them to vote against the PM. In the end 25 MPs supported the PM while 22 were against with one abstaining. 25 votes are needed to pass the motion.

This is the eighth time that he has had such a motion lodged against him. On six of these occasions, Parliament was dissolved, he resigned or the Cabinet was reshuffled by the Emir to avoid the spectacle of the Royal PM being subjected to such a fate. The penultimate occasion saw Al Mohammed stand his ground and win comfortably. This ushered in a period of relative calm and cooperation between the Government and the Parliament where – for once – crucially important long term projects were pushed through.

The current ‘grilling’ (interpolation) and subsequent vote of confidence stems from a growing anger by opposition groups who feel that the Government is slowly but surely seeking to reduce their influence. A peaceful gathering outside an MPs house that was harshly broken up by Kuwaiti Special Forces a few weeks ago injuring several MPs was the final straw.

Many at the gathering were protesting to preempt what they  feared was the government plotting to amend the 1962 constitution to weaken political and other civil guarantees therein.  Al Jazeera was banned from Kuwait after covering the reaction of the police.

The key question now is whether the Parliament will return to its intransigent past or move on. Around the 6th and 7th attempted grilling of the PM in 2009, there were real fears of an unconstitutional break in the Parliament by the Emir, such was the degree to which necessary bills and laws were not being passed.

Unfortunately, the opposition appears to be set on removing the PM and could resort to their earlier tactics of seeking to ‘grill’ him over minor, relatively inconsequential matters. They know perfectly well that this is likely to anger the government and once again policy decisions will grind to a halt.




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