Kuwaiti finance minister refuses to resign
Published Thursday, May 24, 2012
Kuwaiti opposition lawmakers said on Thursday said they would request a vote of no confidence in the finance minister after questioning him in parliament over alleged financial irregularities in departments he oversees.
Mustapha al-Shamali, who has repeatedly rejected the accusations, may resign rather than face the confidence vote, which he is unlikely to win, Kuwaiti media and analysts say.
The vote, if it goes ahead, is expected to take place in a later session and be backed by 33 opposition MPs, who have a majority in the National Assembly.
Thursday's meeting was scheduled to last many hours. In a long speech to parliament, Shamali rejected the accusations as false.
The questioning session "deviated from serving the public interest and is for revenge and settling scores with the finance minister and some of his aides", the speech said, according to state news agency KUNA.
On Wednesday the whole cabinet boycotted a parliamentary session it had been asked to attend after a row over the plans to question Shamali.
"Shamali will say his speech... and leave," daily al-Qabas said on Thursday.
Political upheaval is not new to the major oil producer, which ushered in its fourth parliament in six years after a snap election in February. Opposition, mainly Islamist, MPs won a majority of seats in that ballot, which was triggered by another political row between the government and parliament.
The infighting has held up decisions on large investment projects and scared away foreign investors, analysts and bankers say.
Shamali, a 69-year-old finance ministry veteran, has not commented on the speculation he might resign.