Kuwait oil minister fate unclear after no-confidence motion

Kuwait oil minister fate unclear after no-confidence motion

Manama: Kuwait’s Oil Minister Bakheet Al Rashidi will know his fate next week after 10 lawmakers had moved for a no-confidence motion following a lengthy grilling.

Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al Ghanem said that the voting would be held at the parliamentary session on May 10.

Al Rashidi went through a grueling quizzing on Tuesday that lasted 11 hours hours and had to answer allegations of corruption and squandering public funds.

Lawmakers Omar Al Tabtabaei and Abdul Wahab Al Babtain, considered as from the opposition, charged that the minister who had been in office for less than five months and some top oil executives caused losses worth billions to the state budget.

Al Rashidi rejected the claims and refuted them during the grilling, insisting that the mega projects mentioned in the allegations, were proceeding as per schedule.

An initiative by some lawmakers to form an investigation committee and present its outcome to the parliament was suggested at the parliament, but its formation will have to be supported by the parliament.

Al Ghanem said that the possibility to set up the committee would be discussed on May 10 as well.

The debate over the second grilling during the marathon session on Tuesday targeted Prime Minister Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah, but it was held behind closed doors following a request from the government and the approval of the majority of the lawmakers present.

Al Ghanem later told reporters that the lawmakers did not vote for a no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

Shaikh Jaber faced a quizzing that reportedly focused on Kuwait’s decline in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), financial excesses, the government’s laxity in implementing laws, the non-issuance of the executive regulations of some laws, the revocation of citizenship, the status of the Bidoon (stateless people) and the continuation of the international sports suspension.

However, the debate for the grilling of Social Affairs and Labour and State Minister for Economic Affairs Hind Al Sabeeh ended with a call by ten lawmakers for a no-confidence vote.

The minister had to face allegations of abuse of the law to dissolve non-governmental organisations and cooperative societies, failing to enforce necessary policies to restructure Kuwait’s demographics and failing to apply development plans to bolster the national economy.

Under the parliament bylaws, ten lawmakers are required to go ahead with the motion that would decide the fate of the minister.

However, the no-confidence motion must be approved by 25 of the 50 lawmakers to become effective and remove the minister.

In February, Al Sabeeh breezed through a no-confidence motion charging financial and administrative irregularities in her ministry after 29 lawmakers voted for her and 13 against her.

The Speaker had anticipated a lengthy day and night of grilling debates, but said that everything would be by the book.

Marathon sessions to debate grilling motions in the Kuwaiti parliament are rare.

On November 27, 2013 the lawmakers reviewed four grilling motions against the prime minister, the health minister, the housing minister and the planning and development minister.

On June 24, 1986, four quizzing motions against the ministers of communication, finance, oil and education were on the agenda of the parliament. The parliament was dissolved on July 2, 1986.

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