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Tue 28 Dec 2010 11:47 PM

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Kuwait MPs seeks emir's action in govt impasse

Move may lead to parliament dissolution, cabinet reshuffle

Kuwait MPs seeks emir's action in govt impasse
POLITICAL STANDOFF: Motion of non-cooperation signals an impasse in relations between the government and the parliament (Getty Images)

Kuwaiti opposition lawmakers filed a motion against the prime minister on Tuesday in a political standoff that may prompt the ruler of the OPEC member to reshuffle the cabinet or dissolve parliament.

The motion of non-cooperation with the prime minister signals an impasse in relations between the government and the parliament, the most assertive in a region mostly governed by ruling families.

If passed in a session on January 5, it would be sent to the emir, who has responded to similar tensions between parliament and the cabinet in the past by reshuffling governments or calling for fresh elections.

The move came hours after the 50-seat house questioned Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al Mohammad al Sabah, a nephew of the emir, in a closed session over alleged violations of the constitution and public freedom.

"Sheikh Nasser has to leave. Today 10 lawmakers submitted the motion, but we are sure there will be more supporting it on January 5," Musallam al Barrak, one of the MPs behind the motion, told reporters amid cheers from dozens of opposition supporters who had gathered at the parliament.

Earlier this month, three lawmakers had submitted a request to question the premier about an incident in which police broke up an opposition gathering, wounding several people.

The filing of the non-cooperation motion indicated the opposition MPs' dissatisfaction with Sheikh Nasser's answers. No government ministers were available for comment after the questioning.

Similar crises in the past have triggered numerous cabinet resignations, reshuffles and parliamentary dissolutions that have delayed economic reform bills.

The cabinet had to pass a $5bn stimulus package as a by-law last year while parliament was dissolved.

Last year Sheikh Nasser agreed to be questioned by parliament, which was a first for a head of government in the Gulf state. He survived a similar non-cooperation motion.

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