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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kuwait emir warns against political chaos

Kuwait City
Kuwait's ruler issued a stern warning against chaos on Wednesday as the oil-rich Gulf state plunged into political turmoil and protests by youth activists demanding the premier's ouster.

"Conditions no longer permit more chaos, lawlessness and confrontations ... which threaten the security of our nation and its resources," Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said in a televised speech.

The emir lashed out at wrangling in parliament, saying some practices by MPs were "serious ... and breached the constitution," describing them as "oppressive ... and used for settling scores."

"Enough is enough. All (in Kuwait) have become hostage to the feelings of anxiety and frustration," the emir, who has the power to dissolve parliament, warned.

Ten opposition MPs on Tuesday filed a "non-cooperation" motion in a bid to oust Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al Ahmad Al Sabah, a nephew of the emir, following a marathon grilling in parliament over ties with Iran.

A vote on the motion is scheduled for June 23 and it requires 25 votes in the 50-member house to pass. If it succeeds, it could lead to the premier being sacked or parliament dissolved and a call for snap polls.

Opposition MPs said they plan to file more grilling against the prime minister who has been fighting non-stop with his critics.

Youth activists have been holding rallies every Friday for the past four weeks, calling for the removal of the prime minister who they accuse of incompetence in running the country and failing to check widespread corruption.

The activists plan to hold another rally on Friday.

The emir appealed to the youth to "safeguard the true Kuwaiti spirit" and said he has instructed the interior minister to continue to take measures to preserve law and order.

The protests have so far passed without incident but the government has asked the protesters to rally in a seaside square opposite the parliament building in Kuwait City and not to stage marches.

Kuwait has been rocked by a series of crises over the past five years, forcing the prime minister to resign six times while parliament was dissolved on three occasions, stalling development in the process.

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