For the first time in Kuwaiti history, the prime minister allowed himself to be questioned in parliament. Previous attempts at questioning the prime minister have either led to his resignation or the dissolution of parliament. The PM was questioned along with three other ministers in what was described as Kuwait’s longest ever parliamentary session, lasting from 9 am to 5 am the following day.
But the grillings of the prime minister, which took place in a secret session, and that of the interior minister both ended with no-confidence motions being submitted. Ten MPs filed a non-cooperation motion against the prime minister and voting will take place on 16 December. The prime minister looks set to survive after about 30 MPs issued a statement declaring their support to him and saying they totally opposed the motion against him. Only elected MPs who are not Cabinet ministers vote on such motions which are passed by a simple majority, which currently stands at 25.
The voting on the no-confidence motion filed against the interior minister will take place on 17 December. It will be the second time this year that the interior minister faces a no-confidence vote.
December 10, 2009
Analysis and Forecast: decreasing risk
In a move that surprised most, the prime minister agreed to be questioned. This in itself is a move that demonstrates the lengths the ruling family in Kuwait is prepared to go to avoid a constitutional clash. Failing this would may have led to a serious constitutional crisis.
However, now that the grilling has taken place, the opposition has its choice of ammunition vastly reduced. If the situation does indeed deteriorate further, and the Emir finds himself forced to dissolve parliament if the latter agrees not to cooperate with the government, opposition to such a move would be limited. The government has already demonstrated that it is prepared to undergo what was previously perceived as a humiliation to avert a constitutional crisis. If a constitutional crisis does indeed materialize, more will blame the opposition and therefore a suspension of the constitution and parliamentary life, possibly for two years, will be more palatable.
The following shows the make-up of the current Kuwaiti parliament: