Kuwait’s parliament speaker Marzouk al-Ghanem has called for snap elections in the face of mounting security and economic challenges in the oil-rich Gulf emirate. Ghanem’s remarks came after lawmakers filed three requests to grill ministers over a decision to hike petrol prices and alleged financial and administrative violations. More such requests are expected before parliament on Tuesday starts the final year of its four-year term.
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In an interview with Al-Rai television late Saturday, Ghanem said Kuwait was facing a “delicate and exceptional period… with regional security, economic and domestic and external challenges.”
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“We cannot overcome this period if we don’t have a new government team… and go back to the ballot boxes,” the speaker said.
This view, he said, was shared by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah, a senior member of Kuwait’s ruling family, along with many lawmakers.
“I have informed the political leadership (emir) of this personal view and he has the ultimate decision.” Under the constitution, only Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has the power to dissolve parliament and call early elections.
The current parliament is considered pro-government but lawmakers have been angered by the cabinet’s unilateral decision to raise petrol prices by between 40 to 80 per cent. The OPEC member pumps about 3.0 million barrels of oil per day.