Kuwait's prime minister submits Cabinet's resignation to Emir

Cabinet members resign over Sheikh Sabah's choice of ministers, among other reasons

FILE - This Dec. 16, 2012 file photo shows a General view of Kuwait's National Assembly during the inauguration of the 14th Legislative Term of the National Assembly in Kuwait. Kuwait's Cabinet submitted its resignation on Tuesday, the latest development in a cycle of clashes between the government and lawmakers that long has convulsed the sheikhdom with the strongest parliament in the Gulf. (AP Photo/Gustavo Ferrari, File)

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid submitted the resignation of his Cabinet to the country's ruler on Wednesday, days before the premier was due to be questioned in parliament over his choice of ministers and other issues.

The stand-off between the government and Parliament less than a month after the Cabinet was appointed poses the first big challenge to Emir Sheikh Nawaf, who assumed power in September.

It complicates government efforts to tackle the economic crisis caused by low oil prices and the coronavirus crisis.

Ministers submitted their resignations on Tuesday, a move the government said was related to "developments in the relationship between the National Assembly [Parliament] and the government".

It was not clear if the emir, who has the final say in matters of state, would accept the Cabinet's resignation.

The motion to question Sheikh Sabah, who has been prime minister since late 2019, was submitted by three legislators on January 5 in the first regular session of the new assembly, in which the opposition made gains in last year's election.

More than 30 other MPs in the assembly, which has 50 elected members, supported the request to question him.

The motion suggested that Cabinet did not reflect the result of recent polls and that there had been interference in electing the Speaker and members of parliamentary committees.

Last month, Sheikh Sabah called for national unity while taking oath after being re-appointed prime minister.

Sheikh Nawaf had already approved a new Cabinet that included new ministers of oil and finance after the previous government resigned following parliamentary elections this month.

Kuwait's latest Parliament comprised mostly new faces after voters returned only 19 of the 44 sitting members who sought re-election in the December 5 poll.

The elections were the first since Sheikh Nawaf took office as emir in September after the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Sabah, at the age of 91.

In addition to its elected members, Cabinet ministers also sit in parliament.

Kuwait’s Parliament has the power to pass legislation and question ministers, while senior government posts are occupied by members of the ruling family.