...It’s Kuwait’s 6th cabinet in 3yrs. The 3rd formed by PM, Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah since he took office in August last year.
The government of Kuwait has resigned its appointment yesterday [Monday] amid a power struggle with the Arab Gulf country’s assembly less than four months after parliamentary elections delivered a mandate for change.
The mass resignation comes barely six months after being appointed, as it tries to out-maneuver lawmakers seeking to pass legislation ministers say would strain state finances
The state-run KUNA news agency confirmed the resignation, which had earlier been reported by local media, without providing further details. It’s the fifth time a Kuwaiti government has resigned in just over two years.
The government, which is appointed by the ruling family, has been in a prolonged power struggle with the elected assembly. They had recently clashed over the assembly’s advancement of populist measures that the government deems too costly, as well as requests to grill two ministers over alleged economic mismanagement, local media reported.
A source said the cabinet’s move to resign is meant to hinder the Assembly’s attempts to push through spending bills that would see the government buying back consumer loans and raising salaries and benefits, among other things.
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Kuwait is credited with the freest and most active assembly in the Persian Gulf, but political power is still concentrated in the hands of the ruling Al Sabah family, which appoints the prime minister and cabinet, and can dissolve the assembly at any time.
Kuwait’s Islamist opposition accuses the government of graft and mismanagement, frequently grilling ministers over their involvement in the misallocation of public funds.
The squabbling has prevented the assembly from passing basic economic reforms, including a public debt law that would allow the government to borrow money, leading to the depletion of its general reserve fund despite its vast oil wealth.
This is the third cabinet formed by Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf al-Ahmed Al-Sabah since he took office in August last year. It is also Kuwait’s sixth government in three years.
The parliament is led by opposition forces, which view ministers as corrupt and accuse them of mismanaging the country’s oil wealth. The government has been at constant odds with the elected assembly, which is pursuing populist measures.
Kuwait, which borders Saudi Arabia and Iraq, has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves and hosts some 13,500 American troops.
While Kuwait boasts of one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds and has very low debt with a surplus of around $23 billion in store and an economy that was set for almost 8% growth in 2022, according to Bloomberg, it’s falling far behind its peers–Saudi Arabia and the UAE in terms of non-oil economic growth.
By Ken Okoye