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Tue 16 Mar 2010 01:05 PM

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Kuwaiti parliament questions info min on media laws

'Grilling is to boost national unity, freedom and fight corruption' - lawmaker.

Kuwaiti parliament questions info min on media laws
KUWAIT WATCH: Standoffs between the government and parliament in the last few years have stalled economic policy changes. (Getty Images)

Kuwaiti lawmakers have requested a no confidence vote against the Gulf Arab state's oil minister in his additional role of information minister, the parliament speaker said on Tuesday.

The required 10 lawmakers for a no confidence vote made the request after Sheikh Ahmad al Abdullah al Sabah was questioned over issues including failing to impose the law to stop the broadcast of shows allegedly defaming tribes and public figures.

Lawmakers have frequently triggered cabinet resignations or reshuffles in the past through questioning and no confidence motions in the world's fourth largest oil exporter.

But in December, opposition MPs failed to pass a motion against the prime minister, Sheikh Nasser al Mohammad al-Sabah, a nephew of the ruler, after his office was accused of financial irregularities.

Ali al Deqbasi, a member of the opposition Popular Action Bloc, had questioned Sheikh Ahmad earlier on Tuesday regarding the television broadcasts.

Deqbasi has called for legal action over a controversial television show deemed offensive to Kuwait's Bedouin tribes.

Sheikh Ahmad, a senior member of the OPEC country's ruling family, rejected the allegations.

Speaking to parliament, Sheikh Ahmad said: "The issues have been made clear, this is now left up to your judgment."

Speaker Jassim al Kharafi said parliament would vote on the no confidence motion on March 25.

Analyst Ali al Baghli said the motion was unlikely to be passed against Sheikh Ahmad, who was also made minister of information in a new cabinet named in 2009.

Baghli, a former oil minister, said: "The questioning is weak, and the minister has resolved all the issues in it ... the no-confidence motion is not expected to draw enough votes."

Political parties are banned in Kuwait, so parliament is made up of individuals who form loose blocs.

Any MP has the right to question ministers, but it takes 10 lawmakers to file a request for a no confidence vote and a majority of the elected members of the 50 seat chamber to vote a minister out of office. (Reuters)