Kuwait’s government resigned Sunday in line with the constitution after parliamentary polls, the country’s second since December, and the ruling emir asked the cabinet to stay on in a caretaker role.
A day after the elections, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state, accepted the resignation but asked Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah and his ministers to stay on until a new cabinet is formed, state news agency KUNA reported.
After consultations, the emir may tap the outgoing premier, the likely scenario, or another senior member of the ruling family to form a new cabinet.
Before bowing out, the government approved a decree calling for the new parliament to hold its inaugural meeting on August 6, the cabinet said on its website.
The new cabinet, Kuwait’s 13th in seven years, must be formed before parliament’s first session.
The Shiite minority emerged as the main losers on Saturday in Kuwait’s second polls in under eight months.
They were reduced to eight seats in the 50-member assembly compared with a record 17 members in the previous parliament which was nullified last month by Kuwait’s constitutional court.
Shiites form around 30 percent of Kuwait’s native population of 1.23 million.
Liberals and moderate Sunni Islamists made some gains in the election, the sixth since mid-2006.
Voter turnout rose to 52.5 percent, compared to December’s record low of 40 percent because of an opposition boycott. The average turnout in Kuwaiti polls is around 65 percent.
Some groups who had boycotted the previous polls chose to take part this time, notably Bedouin tribes and liberals.
Radical Shiite and Sunni Islamists were dealt a heavy blow in the latest election, with at least two Shiite and two Sunni radical members failing to hold onto their seats.
Analysts expect the new parliament to have improved ties with the government.
Liberals, Shiites, Sunni Islamists, merchants and almost all Bedouin tribes will be represented in the new parliament.
The liberals, who had no seat in the previous parliament, won at least three this time around. Sunni Islamists increased their presence from five to seven seats and tribal groups maintained their strength at 24 seats.
Only two women were elected compared to three in the previous parliament.
The opposition had called for a boycott in protest at the government’s amendment of the key electoral law, although it was eventually upheld by the constitutional court.
The opposition gave no early official comment on the election results but former opposition MP Mubarak al-Waalan said the new parliament was totally pro-government.