Kuwait’s emir asks government to stay on, prepare for elections

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait’s new emir has asked the cabinet to carry on its duties and prepare for parliamentary elections due this year after the prime minister handed in his government’s resignation, state news agency KUNA reported on Tuesday.

Parliament, which must approve the emir’s choice of crown prince, will end its term on Oct. 8, Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim later said in remarks broadcast on state television.

Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah met Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who assumed power last week, and in line with the constitution submitted the government’s resignation “to ensure ministerial responsibilities are held by those who enjoy the emir’s confidence”, KUNA said.

It said Sheikh Nawaf expressed his full confidence in the current cabinet, which was formed last December.

Sheikh Nawaf, 83, took the helm of the U.S.-allied OPEC member state following the death of his brother Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed last Tuesday aged 91.

Kuwaitis have been waiting for Sheikh Nawaf to name a crown prince to help guide state affairs at a time when low oil prices and COVID-19 have hit state finances against the backdrop of continued tensions between Kuwait’s larger neighbours Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The parliament speaker said if the emir names a crown prince on Wednesday, then he would call a session for Thursday morning. If there is no announcement by Wednesday, then parliament would vote on the candidate at an extraordinary session. [D5N2EC036]

Al-Ghanim said the body would hold two sessions on Wednesday, one to honour the late emir and another to finalise pending items.

(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy, Aziz El Yaakoubi and Hadeel El Sayegh; Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Alison Williams, Ed Osmond, William Maclean)

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