Kuwaitis protest, demand prime minister resign

KUWAIT Sat Jun 4, 2011 2:57am IST

Related Topics

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Around 500 Kuwaitis staged an anti-government protest on Friday, demanding the resignation of the prime minister and an end to a political crisis hampering legislation in the major OPEC oil producer.

"The people want the overthrow of the head (of government)," the crowd chanted, echoing slogans of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square that led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Thanks to a generous welfare system, Kuwait has avoided the mass protests by thousands of people that have forced out governments in Egypt and Tunisia.

But the Gulf Arab state has endured a long political stalemate and opposition has built up against Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, an influential member of the ruling family.

Last month, two lawmakers moved to question Sheikh Nasser over alleged misuse of public funds, a charge he denies. The request came days after he had unveiled his seventh cabinet.

The previous cabinet quit in March to avoid parliamentary questioning of three ministers.

At a protest in front of parliament, speakers accused Sheikh Nasser of corruption and inefficiency and attacked him for his refusal to be questioned in parliament, which is something the ruling al-Sabah family has sought to avoid.

"The people are the only source of legislation...The young people are capable of overthrowing the head (of government)," activist Mohammad al-Hamlan told the cheering crowd.

"Nasser, step down for the sake of Kuwait," a poster said.

Several opposition and pro-democracy groups had called for the protest which came a day after a much smaller pro-government rally on the same square in the centre of Kuwait City.

Kuwait, which sits on a tenth of global crude reserves, allows more political freedom than Gulf neighbours such as Saudi Arabia where few dare criticise the government or members of the ruling family.

But tensions in Kuwait's parliament, which must approve all major bills and the budget, have delayed legislation aimed at attracting investment to diversify the economy away from oil.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Michael Roddy)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Gaza Attack

Gaza Attack

At least 15 killed by shelling of Gaza school; toll exceeds 760  Full Article 

Ukraine PM Resigns

Ukraine PM Resigns

Ukrainian prime minister tenders his resignation in parliament.  Full Article 

Health Crisis

Health Crisis

Myanmar Muslims in remote Rakhine suffer worsening health crisis.  Full Article 

Afghan Election

Afghan Election

Afghan vote recount moves at snail's pace, rival sides far apart.  Full Article 

Iraq Government

Iraq Government

Iraq elects president as Ban urges unity to save nation.  Full Article 

Sanctions Plan

Sanctions Plan

EU targets state-owned Russia banks  Full Article 

MH17 Crash

MH17 Crash

Investigators find no evidence of MH17 black box tampering  Full Article 

Special Report

Special Report

Inside Xi Jinping's purge of China's oil mandarins  Full Article 

Freedom at Last

Freedom at Last

Death row Christian woman flies out of Sudan, meets Pope.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage