Kuwait's government hands resignation to Emir

Formation of new Cabinet could offer path towards fiscal reform for gulf nation involved in political stand-off

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf is notified of the government’s resignation by Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah. Photo: Kuna
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Kuwait’s government has submitted its resignation to Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah, less than a year after taking office, the state news agency Kuna reported on Monday.

The government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah, is the second to resign in the past year since a feud occurred with Kuwait's elected Parliament.

Sheikh Nawaf is expected to accept the resignation of the government, which was formed in March after the previous Cabinet stepped down.

“The government’s resignation letter has been submitted to His Highness ... who, in his usual wisdom, will decide on what he sees in the benefit of Kuwait and its honourable government,” Kuna quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al Sabah as saying.

Kuwait’s current political deadlock has a long history. Decades of feuding among the Parliament and the government has led to Cabinet reshuffles and resignations and has often hindered legislative work.

"The resignation is part of the deal reached after long talks between the Parliament opposition and the government," a government source told The National.

"As part of the deal, the opposition will be represented in the new government, the prime minister and speaker will keep their posts and the Parliament will not be dissolved."

The formation of a new Cabinet could offer a path towards fiscal reform, which could provide relief to Kuwait’s economy after it was affected by a drop in oil prices and the pandemic.

Also on Monday, the Emir issued two decrees for an amnesty for several convicted citizens, including prominent opposition politicians, to support talks between Parliament and the government.

"These decisions usher in a fresh beginning and a new era," Kuwaiti columnist Kamel Al Haramy said.

Kuwait has had 17 governments and eight elections since 2006. The most recent Cabinet was appointed in March but the oil, finance and foreign portfolios remained under the same ministers, despite a government resignation in January.

"It's a period of calm after long years of turmoil. There is an agreement on that and the Emir has now started to leave his prints on the political stage," Mr Al Haramy said.

But some Kuwaitis had hoped for a more fundamental change.

"We need to transform the approach of managing state affairs," Ahmed Al Dayyin, secretary general of the Kuwaiti progressive movement, told The National.

"We shouldn't be just satisfied by the mere change of the faces and portfolios in the next Cabinet line up, as they had always changed to no avail," the veteran politician and activist said.

Sheikh Nawaf became Kuwait’s Emir in September last year.

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Updated: November 09, 2021, 9:46 AM