Kuwait parliament to hold no-confidence motion against two ministers

The Kuwaiti parliament will today question Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh and Education Minister Saud Al-Harbi in a no-confidence motion filed

kuwait

Photo: Getty Images/AFP/ Yasser Al-Zayyat

The Kuwaiti parliament will today question Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh and Education Minister Saud Al-Harbi in a no-confidence motion filed over alleged corruption charges.

Owing to Kuwait’s unique position as a Gulf monarchy that enjoys relative political openness, Al-Saleh and Al-Harbi are among many Kuwaiti cabinet members challenged by the parliament in recent years. Despite the country’s deep-seated corruption problem, opposition MPs (who comprise nearly half of the current parliament) play a crucial role in holding cabinet members accountable.

Still, the Kuwaiti royal family is often able to shield its allies, evidenced most recently by Al-Saleh’s survival of a first no-confidence vote just two weeks ago. Government officials typically avoid impeachment through resignations, reshuffles and even the dissolution of the parliament, which occurred in October 2016.

However, the recent uptick in corruption charges against senior officials and members of the royal family puts Kuwaiti authorities in a difficult position, especially as they grapple with the effects of the COVID-19-induced recession and the global devaluation of oil prices ahead of an election. Al-Saleh and Al-Harbi will most likely overcome today’s no-confidence votes, but unless Kuwaiti leadership takes active steps to rejuvenate public confidence, the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for late 2020 could tip the scales in favour of the opposition, challenging the royal family’s near-absolute grip on politics.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.