Last updated: 25 June, 2012

Kuwait’s cabinet resigns

The Kuwaiti cabinet submitted its resignation to the oil-rich Gulf state’s ruler on Monday, days after the top court nullified legislative elections, the information minister said.

“The cabinet held an emergency meeting and decided to submit its resignation to the emir,” Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah told a press conference, adding the resignation letter was handed to Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

The minister said the cabinet stepped down in order to give way to a new government to “take the necessary legal and constitutional procedures to implement the constitutional court ruling.”

The constitutional court, whose rulings are final, on Wednesday scrapped the February legislative election and reinstated the previous pro-government parliament, plunging the emirate into yet another political crisis.

“We are afraid that any legal measure taken by the current cabinet might be challenged again in the court, so we opted to resign in order to form an entirely new government that will take the measures,” Sheikh Mohammad said.

The cabinet was formed just over four months ago following a February parliamentary election in which the opposition scored an impressive victory, achieving a majority.

It was the ninth cabinet to resign in the OPEC member since February 2006. Two of the cabinet’s 16 ministers had been forced to quit over the past few weeks under pressure from MPs.

It was formed by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah who replaced Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, both senior members of the ruling family.

Sheikh Nasser was forced to step down in November by youth-led street protests.

Opposition members from the scrapped parliament rejected the court ruling and described it as “null and void,” insisting that the court has exceeded its mandate stipulated under the law.

The opposition also called on the court to reverse its decision and urged its supporters to demonstrate on Tuesday in protest against the ruling.

Kuwait, OPEC’s fourth largest crude producer, has been rocked by a series of political crises over the past six years during which nine cabinets resigned and parliament was dissolved four times.

The emirate, which says it sits on around 10 percent of global oil reserves, pumps around three million barrels per day of oil. It has a native population of 1.2 million besides 2.5 million foreign residents.