(Corrects to clarify government appointed by PM, not emir)
By Eman Goma
KUWAIT Nov 28 Kuwait's prime minister and
his government resigned on Monday in response to escalating
demands by protesters and opposition deputies that he step down
over corruption allegations.
The oil-producing state has tolerated criticism of its
government to a degree rare among its Gulf neighbours, helping
to insulate it from the protest-driven political tumult that has
helped topple four Arab leaders this year.
But tensions rose sharply this month when opposition
lawmakers and protesters stormed parliament to demand the
resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad
"We decided to submit our resignation to comply with the
national interest and due to the danger the situation had
reached," the state television channel cited Sheikh Nasser as
The storming of parliament followed a request filed by a
group of MPs to question Sheikh Nasser, which was blocked by the
cabinet in a move decried as unconstitutional by the opposition.
Opposition MPs warned that if Sheikh Nasser did not step up
to the questioning stand on Nov. 29, they would escalate their
campaign against him.
Kuwait has been locked in a long-running political battle
between the government dominated by the ruling Al Sabah family
and the 50-member elected parliament.
The emir, who appoints the prime minister, who in turn forms
a cabinet, accepted the government's resignation, state news
agency KUNA reported, in a sudden turnaround from last week when
he said he would not allow his PM to resign.
At least 45 people were arrested over the incident,
described by the emir as a "black day". Earlier on Monday,
parliamentary sources said if the resignation were accepted, it
could take up to three months to form a new government. During
that time parliament sessions would be suspended.
At least 45 people were arrested over the incident. Earlier
on Monday, parliamentary sources said if the resignation were
accepted, it could take up to three months to form a new
government. During that time parliament sessions would be
The parliament speaker told reporters after a meeting with
the emir and members of the cabinet that he had not been
informed of any decision to dissolve the assembly.
The opposition was due to go ahead with a protest outside
the parliament building later on Monday despite the resignation.
"We hope that the next step is dissolving the parliament,
because a quarter of the members were referred to the prosecutor
over corruption allegations," Islamist opposition lawmaker
Dhaifallah Buramia told reporters.
Since Sheikh Nasser became prime minister in 2006, seven
cabinets have been re-jigged and three times the emir has been
pushed to dissolve parliament and call early elections.
The previous cabinet resigned in March to avoid
parliamentary questioning of three ministers, the main weapon
the elected body has against the government.
A small population and a generous social welfare system have
shielded Kuwait, which sits on one-tenth of global crude
reserves, from mass protests that have buffeted the Arab world
this year, helping oust the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.
(Reporting by Eman Goma and Mahmoud Harbi; writing by Isabel
Coles; editing by Philippa Fletcher)