KUWAIT CITY, (AP) -Kuwait’s Cabinet has resigned in a widely expected move that pre-empts a vote of no-confidence in the health minister, who is a member of the ruling family, officials said Sunday.
Health Minister Sheik Ahmed Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Sabah defended himself in parliament against accusations of mismanagement and incompetence, but lawmakers were unconvinced and decided he should face a confidence vote, which was scheduled for Monday.
The resignation automatically cancels the vote. Had he lost the vote, Sheik Ahmed would have had to step down, an embarrassment to the ruling family, which traditionally holds key Cabinet posts.
The official Kuwait News Agency reported that Kuwait’s emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, had accepted the resignation and asked the Cabinet to stay on in a caretaker capacity.
Ismail al-Shatti, minister of state for Cabinet affairs, told Kuwaiti state television that the resignation was “made necessary by the public interest” and that Cabinet members believe it has become “difficult to work with parliament.” Al-Shatti spoke to Kuwaiti television as he left the weekly Cabinet meeting. He did not elaborate.
Kuwaiti governments have previously pre-empted votes of no-confidence by resigning and Cabinet reshuffles. Such moves have even led to dissolving parliament.
Political analyst Ayed al-Mannah said he fears that the scenario will be repeated because Cabinets in Kuwait are not formed by parties that win elections, and they don’t always enjoy parliamentary backing.