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23 February 2024

Kuwait ruler meets officials on government crisis

By Agencies


Kuwait's ruler is meeting with politicians on Wednesday to decide whether to dissolve parliament after the government of the Gulf oil-exporter quit following months of political deadlock.

Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who has the last say in Kuwaiti politics, cut short a holiday to Morocco and returned late on Tuesday to deal with the crisis.

The cabinet resigned on Monday, less than a year after it was sworn in, complaining of a lack of cooperation from a parliament that has repeatedly challenged ministers, prompting several resignations.

The standoff has paralysed political life and delayed economic reform in the major Opec producer.

Kuwaiti newspapers said on Wednesday Sheikh Sabah would start consultations with Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Sabah, Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah and Parliament Speaker Jassem Al Kharafi.

"The decision on what happens now is with the emir," Kharafi told reporters on Tuesday.

Al Seyassah
newspaper said the Emir would decide whether to dissolve the assembly or reject the cabinet's resignation on Wednesday or after the long holiday weekend.

State television was showing excerpts from a previous speech by the Emir in which he had urged deputies and the government to work together for the sake of the country, but to little avail.

Kuwait wants to diversify the economy away from oil. But a bill to set up a financial regulator and open up the stock market to more foreign investment has been stalled in parliament. (Reuters)