Kuwait PM defies emir, rejects reappointment

Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak has held Kuwait’s caretaker prime minister post since 2011. (Facebook pic)

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s caretaker prime minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak declined to be reappointed as premier on Monday, the state news agency KUNA reported, rebuffing the offer from the ruling emir after submitting the government’s resignation last week.

The cabinet resignation came after lawmakers sought a no-confidence vote against the interior minister over alleged abuse of power and as a feud emerged between senior members of the ruling family, including the interior and defence ministers, over alleged mishandling of military funds.

The interior minister has rejected lawmakers’ charges against him.

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah earlier on Monday removed his son, Defence Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Jarrah al-Sabah from their posts in the current caretaker cabinet.

Cabinet resignations in the US-allied, OPEC oil producer happen frequently when elected lawmakers are set to question or submit a no-confidence vote against senior government officials.

The emir sought to reappoint Sheikh Jaber as premier, a post he has held since 2011, and asked him to form a new cabinet.

“I decline this appointment and ask that you accept that,” Sheikh Jaber said in a letter to the emir, citing media campaigns against him in the feud. It was carried by KUNA.

The defence minister had issued a statement two days after the government resignation, saying the cabinet had stood down to avoid addressing mismanagement of some US$790 million in military funds before he assumed office. He said the defence ministry had submitted the case to the public prosecutor.

Kuwait has the most open political system in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, with a parliament that has the power to pass legislation and question ministers.