Iran General NewsKuwaiti MPs file motion to oust PM over Iran

Kuwaiti MPs file motion to oust PM over Iran

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AFP: Ten Kuwaiti opposition lawmakers on Tuesday filed a motion of “non-cooperation” with the prime minister in a bid to oust him over ties with Iran, speaker Jassem al-Khorafi said.

by Omar Hasan

KUWAIT CITY, June 14, 2011 (AFP) – Ten Kuwaiti opposition lawmakers on Tuesday filed a motion of “non-cooperation” with the prime minister in a bid to oust him over ties with Iran, speaker Jassem al-Khorafi said.

The motion was submitted at the end of a seven-hour grilling in a secret parliamentary session over allegations the premier boosted ties with Shiite Iran at the expense of relations with Arab states in the Gulf.

The motion against Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will be voted in a secret session on June 23.

If passed, the issue will be referred to the emir of the oil-rich Gulf state who will either dissolve parliament and call for fresh election or dismiss the prime minister and appoint a new one.

The premier was accused of harming national security by favouring ties with Shiite non-Arab Iran over Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states.

The MPs accuse Sheikh Nasser of damaging ties with Kuwait’s partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council by failing to promptly dispatch troops as part of the GCC force to Bahrain to help crush Shiite-led protests in the kingdom.

They also criticised the prime minister for allowing a visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi last month which followed statements from Tehran which many in the Gulf found provocative.

The session of parliament comes amid heightened sectarian tensions between the oil-rich emirate’s Shiite minority and the Sunni majority over regional issues.

It was demanded by radical Sunni Islamist MPs Mohammad Hayef and Waleed al-Tabtabai, and independent lawmaker Mubarak al-Waalan, all of whom are staunchly opposed to Iran.

In March, a Kuwaiti court sentenced two Iranians and a Kuwaiti to death and two others to life in prison after convicting them of forming a spy ring operating for Iran’s Guards. Tehran denied the charges.

The two nations returned their ambassadors to their respective capitals last month after a tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats.

Sheikh Nasser, 71, has been fighting non-stop political disputes with opposition in parliament and some members of his cabinet and the ruling family.

On Monday, the ruler accepted the resignation of deputy premier Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, who quit over a dispute with the prime minister.

Opposition MPs campaigning to oust the prime minister plan to file demands to quiz him soon, if the current bid fails.

The non-cooperation motion requires 25 votes in the 50-member house to pass.

MP Tabtabai said the opposition has guaranteed the support of 18 MPs so far and the number is likely to rise.

Pro-government MP Yussef al-Zalzalah told reporters the answers of the prime minister were “excellent backed by numbers and figures,” while opposition MP Saifi al-Saifi said he was not convinced with the premier replies.

It was the third time that Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir, has faced a bid to oust him by the opposition. In January, he narrowly survived a similar motion by just three votes.

Since he was appointed to the post five years ago, Sheikh Nasser has fought ongoing battles with the opposition, forcing him to resign six times as parliament was dissolved on three occasions.

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