* Standoff between elected parliament, appointed govt
* Has held up reforms, investment in oil producer
* Assembly has used questionings to force resignations
KUWAIT, Feb 18 Two Kuwaiti lawmakers said on
Monday they were planning to question the country's oil and
finance ministers, a move that could reignite tensions between
parliament and government in the Gulf Arab state after a brief
Kuwait's elected parliament has been caught in a
long-running power struggle with the appointed government, in
which ruling family members hold some top posts - a standoff
that has delayed reforms and investment in the oil producer.
Elections in December - the country's fifth in six years -
brought in a new set of lawmakers who many analysts expected
would be more cooperative with the government.
But the news some MPs were already planning to use the
assembly's limited powers to call cabinet ministers in for
questioning - a tactic used in past showdowns - suggested the
confrontation might be about to resurface.
MP Nawaf al-Fuzai said he had submitted a request to
question Oil Minister Hani Hussein in parliament, state news
agency KUNA reported.
Issues Fuzai wanted to tackle included alleged links between
a partner of Kuwait's state oil group and an Israeli company and
the 2008 collapse of a planned petrochemicals joint venture with
Dow Chemical, the agency said.
Fuzai and another MP, Saadoun Hammad al-Otaibi, had also
asked to question Finance Minister Mustafa Shamali about whether
there would be a write-off of interest on bank loans taken out
by Kuwaitis, a policy idea backed by several MPs, KUNA said.
Along with blocking legislation, such "grilling" sessions
are one of the main ways MPs assert their influence and have in
the past led to no confidence votes that can oust a minister.
Shamali, a finance ministry veteran, was forced to step down
last year after a similar session and in 2011 the prime
minister, a ruling family member, resigned after pressure from
parliament and the street.
With its generous welfare state, Kuwait has managed to avoid
the kind of upheaval seen in Arab Spring countries but the
political row intensified last year when opposition lawmakers
dominated parliament. Most of them boycotted December's vote.
In the run-up to that election, Kuwait saw frequent
opposition street protests over changes to the voting system
introduced by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
Critics of the parliament say MPs have used grilling
requests to settle personal scores and impress their
constituencies where politicians tend to campaign on an
independent platform because political parties are banned.
MPs argue they are holding ministers to account in a country
where they say the government, hand-picked by the prime
minister, has failed to push forward with development.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall and Ahmed Hagagy; Editing by