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Kuwait social affairs minister quits

Kuwait, June 12, 2012

Kuwait's minister for social affairs and labour has resigned, local media reported on Tuesday, making him the second cabinet member to step down in the last several weeks under pressure from opposition lawmakers.

Officials at the ministry were not immediately available to comment on the source-based reports in all of Kuwait's main newspapers.

If confirmed, the move would increase the likelihood of a full cabinet reshuffle or the resignation of the current government, analysts believe.

Kuwait brought in its fourth government in six years after a snap parliamentary election in February. Opposition, mainly Islamist MPs won a majority of seats in parliament, and its relations with the cabinet, which is appointed by a prime minister hand-picked by the ruling family, have been rocky.

Opposition lawmakers have been demanding an opportunity to question Social Affairs and Labour Minister Ahmed Al-Rujaib in the National Assembly next week. They wanted to quiz him on issues including rising prices for basic goods, food quality control, the issuing of residence permits and illegal front companies.

Such parliamentary grillings can end in a confidence vote that forces a minister out of office.

Rujaib submitted his resignation to the prime minister 'complaining about the difficulties he has been facing in dealing with the current parliament, particularly in the wake of the motions filed to grill him,' Al-Watan daily, which is close to the ruling family, reported on Tuesday.

The resignation would need to be accepted by Kuwait's emir before taking effect.

Finance Minister Mustapha Al-Shamali quit in May after similar pressure from opposition lawmakers, who say they also want to question the oil minister, interior minister and defence minister over various issues.

While Kuwait has one of the most democratic systems of government in the Gulf, political parties are banned and opposition politicians rely on forming blocs in parliament. Opposition lawmakers, emboldened by electoral success, say they want cabinet posts. The political tensions have hindered economic policy-making and planning. - Reuters




Tags: Kuwait | minister | resign |

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