Kuwait health minister resigns after hospital fire

Sat Aug 25, 2007 11:21am EDT

(Recasting with acceptance of resignation, adds details)

KUWAIT, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Kuwait appointed an acting health minister on Saturday to replace Massouma al-Mubarak, who resigned after a hospital fire killed two patients, government sources said.

Mubarak, who was one of two women ministers in the cabinet, tendered her resignation on Friday after a fire broke out earlier this week at a government hospital.

Parliamentarians welcomed the resignation, accepted by acting Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah. They said they held the government responsible for the fire and said it should appoint a new minister from the health sector.

Information minister Abdullah al-Muhailbi was appointed as acting health minister, the sources said.

Two members of parliament presented a motion on Saturday to question Mubarak about the fire, which broke out at a hospital in the town of al-Jahra about 30 km (20 miles) west of the capital on Thursday.

Kuwait's parliament has a history of challenging the government, unusual in the region, but the emir still has the last say in politics.

Oil Minister Sheikh Ali al-Jarrah al-Sabah resigned in June amid a standoff between the government and parliament over remarks in which he said that he had sought advice from a former oil minister who was once investigated over a graft scandal.