Kuwait's interior and defence ministers resign

Kuwait's Defence Minister Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah said the abuse of constitutional tools is what prompted the resignations. PHOTO: AFP

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Kuwait said Thursday (Feb 17) the interior and defence ministers had resigned, after they protested the manner of parliamentary questioning of ministers in the oil-rich Gulf emirate.

A royal decree said the resignations of the two ministers, both members of the royal ruling family, had been accepted.

Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmed Mansour al-Ahmed Al-Sabah was replaced in a caretaker role by Oil Minister Mohammed al-Fares, government spokesman Tariq al-Mazram said.

Defence Minister Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah was replaced by Sheikh Ahmed Nasser al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, the foreign minister and now also acting defence minister.

The two ministers quit after Parliament questioned the foreign minister - also part of the royal family - over corruption claims and alleged misuse of public funds.

While the foreign minister survived a no confidence vote on Wednesday, Sheikh Hamad and Sheikh Ahmed said the lengthy grilling was an "abuse" of power.

"The abuse of constitutional tools is what prompted the resignations," Sheikh Hamad, the former defence minister, was quoted as saying by Kuwaiti media.

"Interrogations are a constitutional right... but parliamentary practices are hindering us from fulfilling the aspirations of the Kuwaiti people."

Kuwait has been shaken by disputes between elected lawmakers and successive governments dominated by the ruling Al-Sabah family for more than a decade, with Parliaments and Cabinets dissolved several times.

Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab state with a fully elected Parliament, which enjoys wide legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office.

A new government was sworn in December, the country's fourth in two years, after the last one resigned in November amid political deadlock.

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