Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Kuwaiti oil minister’s resignation: What happened? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

A March 25, 2013, photo shows Kuwaiti Oil Minister Hani Hussein speaks during the opening ceremony of the 1st GCC oil meadia conference in Kuwait city. (AFP)

A March 25, 2013, photo shows Kuwaiti Oil Minister Hani Hussein speaks during the opening ceremony of the 1st GCC oil meadia conference in Kuwait city. (AFP)

Kuwait, Asharq Al-Awsat—Kuwaiti Oil Minister Hani Hussein resigned on Sunday to avoid escalating the crisis between the government and parliament, which started two weeks ago.

The crisis began when parliament requested to question two incumbent ministers; interior minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud and oil minister Hani Hussein, ending an unofficial agreement which stipulated that parliament could not question ministers until they had been in office for six months.

Following the two requests, the government refused to attend parliament sessions and ministers submitted their resignations to the prime minister. This prompted the Emir of Kuwaiti, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, to intervene and instruct the government to attend the next parliament session, scheduled for Tuesday 28 May.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad received oil minister Hani Hussein on Sunday in his office at Bayan Palace, before news of his resignation was released.

Hussein’s resignation is seen as an attempt by the government to contain the fallout of the request by a group of legislators to question the interior and oil ministers. The cabinet is expected to attend the parliament’s ordinary session on Tuesday, when the request to question the oil minister will be formally withdrawn due to his resignation.

The government has yet to decide whether to refer the request to the parliament’s legislative committee to look into its constitutionality, or to postpone it until after the middle of next month, when the constitutional court finishes dealing with a number of appeals related to the last parliamentary election, which, some observers say, may decide the fate of the parliament.

The reasons for the request to question the oil minister, submitted by MPs Sa’adoun Hammad, Naser Al-Murri and Ya’qoub Al-Sani’a, revolve around a number of issues. These include: a penalty of 2 billion dollars paid by Kuwait to Dow Chemical company for the government’s withdrawal from a partnership deal in 2008; the sale by petrol stations owned by the Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation of alcohol and adult magazines, and the oil sector’s violation of the boycott of Israel by forming a partnership with an Israeli company.

There were also the irregularities in recent promotions within the oil sector’s leadership positions. This was resolved by the government last week, by the dismissal and the investigation of a number of oil sector leaders. Others were suspended and a new committee was appointed for the Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation, the government body which runs oil sector operations.

The request to question the interior minister was submitted by MPs Yusuf Al-Zalzalah and Safa Al-Hashim, in order to question him on his lack of cooperation with the parliament, violations of judicial rulings, and instances of a breakdown in security.

They also cited his silence about Kuwaiti defendants in the Muslim Brotherhood case, who were arrested in the UAE at the end of last year, when he did not lift a finger for political reasons, because some of the defendants were former MPs.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Court issued a sentence of two years in prison with labor yesterday against former MP Walid Al-Tabtaba’i and six government staff. They were found guilty of storming a building belonging to the general directorate of the fire service. The judge ordered the defendants to pay 1,000 Kuwaiti dinars (3,500 US dollars) to suspend the sentence for three years, and for each defendant to submit a written undertaking not to repeat the offence.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

More Posts

Follow Me:
FacebookGoogle PlusYouTube