Kuwait PM survives confidence vote

Motion filed against prime minister Nasser al-Mohammed al-Sabah after security crackdown on opposition in December.

    Parliament has been dissolved three times since Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed al-Sabah (C) became premier [AFP]

    Kuwait prime minister Nasser al-Mohammed al-Sabah has narrowly survived a no-confidence vote brought against him in parliament.

    The "non-cooperation" motion split parliament in a closed-door session on Monday, with 25 MPs voting for it and 25 against. It needed a majority to pass.

    Members of a broad-based opposition in parliament filed the motion on December 28 following a violent clash earlier that month between security forces and opposition supporters.

    Comprised of both Islamists and liberals, the opposition has accused Sabah, 70, of of being responsible for the December 8 police crackdown, which left 14 people injured, including four members of parliament, during a clash at a house where MPs and supporters had gathered.

    Al Jazeera was ordered to leave its offices in Kuwait after covering the violence.

    Opposition rally

    Opposition MPs said before the vote that they had the support of around 22 lawmakers, the AFP news agency reported.

    Abdullah al-Shayji, professor of international relations at Kuwait University, told Al Jazeera that the opposition will likely feel empowered by the vote and will continue to try to rally public support.

    "They think that sends a clarion message that there has to be change in this government in the future," he said.

    On Tuesday night, the opposition organised a large rally in Kuwait City, the capital, in support of the motion. Sabah submitted to closed-door parliamentary questioning last week.

    "We will not remain silent and we will not accept Sheikh Nasser and his government," MP Musallam al-Barrak said, according to the AFP. "There is not enough space for us and the government to coexist under parliament's roof".

    The opposition accuses the government and its supporters of trying to undermine the 1962 constitution, which made Kuwait the first Gulf Arab state to embrace parliamentary democracy. 

    Sabah, the nephew of emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, has resigned five times since being appointed prime minister in February 2006. Parliament has been dissolvedthree times in the same span.

    Kuwait is OPEC's fifth-largest oil producer. Of its 50-member parliament, 15 MPs are cabinet ministers who are unelected and automatically become members of parliament.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and Agencies


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