Oil reshuffle pits Kuwaiti MPs against each other

Published May 22nd, 2013 - 10:19 GMT
Kuwaiti Parliament
Kuwaiti Parliament

A number of MPs expressed mixed reactions over the massive reshuffle on Monday in the oil sector, with some welcoming it and others strongly criticizing it as politically-motivated, while the opposition made no reaction to the changes.

Islamist MP Khaled Al-Shulaimi welcomed the changes, describing the step as “reformist”, and hoped the new appointments will boost the efficiency of the oil sector.

But Shiite MP Abdulhameed Dashti strongly lashed out the appointments, describing the measures as an act of 'vengeance' against Kuwait and the oil sector.

He said MPs are impatiently awaiting the Assembly session on May 28 to see what they are going to do with the request to grill Oil Minister Hani Hussein who has reportedly tendered his resignation like other Cabinet ministers. Dashti said the minister should have stayed away from the series of decisions that introduced massive changes in the oil sector.

MP Nabeel Al-Fadhl also criticized the appointments, claiming they have strengthened the grip of the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, on the oil sector.

MP Saleh Ashour said that because the oil minister has submitted his resignation, he should have not made the sweeping changes in the oil sector.

In a surprising decision on Monday, Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) board of directors changed the top posts in its eight subsidiary companies in addition to changing a number of leading posts in KPC itself.

According to the decision, all managing directors of the eight companies were removed and new managing directors were appointed.

And for the first time, chairmen were appointed in all the companies as per the requirements of the new corporate law. But the opposition has so far remained silent on the changes to Kuwait's most vital sector which contributes around 95 percent of public revenues.

In another development, the opposition is on the verge of announcing that it will again boycott any parliamentary election based on the single-vote law if the constitutional court confirms the law.

Former opposition MPs of the scrapped 2012 Assembly held detailed discussions on the issue late Sunday at the diwaniya of former speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun and decided to hold another meeting on the issue next week.

Former Islamist MP Khaled Al-Sultan said in a statement after the meeting that 'one or two former MPs' still believe that it will be better to take part in the election if the court declares the law in line with the constitution in the highly anticipated ruling next month.

But the majority of the former MPs and the opposition members believe that elections should be boycotted if held on the basis of the single-vote law and the final decision is expected to be announced on Saturday.

Sultan said the issue is not about how many constituencies and how many votes, but it is about 'the regime having the right to change the election system unilaterally' which allows the government to manipulate election results.

He said that any change in the election law must be taken by the National Assembly and not by the government because it shapes the political future of the nation.

So far, members of the Popular Action Movement and the Reform and Development Bloc and several independents have announced that they will not contest any election unless the previous law issued in 2006 is reinstated.

By B Izzak, Staff Writer

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