Kuwait's Crown Prince fights back tears in speech to open parliament's first session

Sheikh Meshal called on the recently elected parliament not to bicker after opening the first session

Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al Sabah. Photo: Kuwait News Agency
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Kuwait's Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al Sabah has called on the recently elected parliament not to bicker after opening the first session of the legislature on Tuesday.

The Crown Prince later fought back tears as he recited verses from the holy Quran calling for unity, before receiving a standing ovation from attendees.

Kuwait held early elections on September 29 after Sheikh Meshal dissolved Parliament in an attempt to end a political stand-off between the government and the legislature that hindered fiscal reforms.

“And we hope that members of the legislative authority … abstain from wasting the assembly sessions with bickering and quarrels … and raising their voices in breach of norms of dialogue,” Sheikh Meshal told the opening session.

He urged the new government to work out a strategy to achieve “rational governing”. He said “the Cabinet and the ministers would be queried for any irregular acts”.

“I will personally follow up on the government performance and bring it into account with respect of execution of its manifesto,” he said.

“We are all partners in bearing responsibility, the people and the ruling family. It was the will of the people that has brought in the lawmakers without any intervention from our side.

“Our speech today before your Parliament is a new covenant document, which is an address of guidance and a message from the political leadership to the children of my nation and to the authorities about how work should be done during the coming period.

“We ask God almighty to guide you to what pleases him and keep us away from the plots of the plotters and the hatred of the haters … and to make Kuwait a state of security and safety.”

Emotional speech

The Crown Prince then tried to hold back tears as he recited verses from the Quran.

“Lord, do not cause our hearts to swerve after you have guided us. Grant us your mercy,” he said before receiving loud applause from those in attendance.

Later after the opening session, Ahmad Al Saadoun was elected as the Speaker of Kuwait's parliament, the official Kuna news agency reported.

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf congratulated Mr Al Saadoun on becoming Speaker.

The Emir sent a message wishing all members of parliament success in their service to the nation as well as wishing development and prosperity to citizens, according to Kuna.

The prime minister and Crown Prince also congratulated Mr Al Saadoun.

On Monday, Sheikh Meshal swore in a reshuffled government that he said would focus on “priority issues” including development, investment and tackling corruption, the Kuna news agency reported.

The Kuwaiti government, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al Sabah, was forced to postpone the first session until October 18. Constitutionally, parliament must hold its opening session two weeks following elections.

MPs attempted to gather on Sunday but 10 did not attend, in protest.

In the September elections, 28 seats were won by opposition candidates, while 20 MPs lost their seats, including three former ministers.

Female MPs will serve in Parliament after Jenan Bushehri and Alia Al Khaled were elected as part of the opposition.

A deadlock with the Cabinet delayed the approval of a state budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 and economic reforms.

The budget, which has to be voted on before November, has set spending at 23.65 billion dinars ($77.2bn), compared with 23.48bn dinars in the 2021-2022 budget.

Updated: October 18, 2022, 12:11 PM