Officials said tension between the government and parliament continued to escalate after news leaked that a number of ministers may face grilling over charges about their handling of the Mishref sewage plant disaster and swine flu virus.

 

The collapse of distillation units at the Mishref sewage plant may lead to massive fish kill in the next three months due to the increasing level of seawater pollution caused by the direct flow of drainage water into the sea.

 

Opposition MP’s have accused the health minister and other government officials of inadequately responding to the Mishref disastor. Prior to that, opposition MP’s have threatened to grill the health minister over the government’s handling of the spread of swine flu.

 

Analysis and forecast: increasing risk

 

The Kuwaiti parliament is in summer recess and will reconvene after the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in early October. Questioning of ministers by parliament often leads to the resignation of the minister or, in more extreme cases, the dissolution of parliament by the Emir.

 

The current parliament was voted in a general election in May 2009, after the previous parliament was dissolved to avoid parliament questioning the prime-minister. Crisis were narrowly averted before the summer but it is now expected that tensions will resurface between the government and parliament after the end of the summer. It is expected that the ministers of finance and defense will be called for questioning, and with the latest developments at the Mishref plant and swine flu, the health and public works ministers will also likely be called for questioning. This also raises the possibility of calling the prime-minister for questioning.

 

While questioning some junior ministers is unlikely to lead to a dissolution of parliament, the questioning of a large number of ministers or the prime-minister will likely lead to escalating government-parliamentary tensions, edging closer to a possibility of a constitutional crisis.