Kuwait emir's about-face rankles activists

Nov. 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM
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KUWAIT CITY, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Kuwait's ruler accepted the resignation of the prime minister and Cabinet Monday but told them to remain as a caretaker regime, the state-run news agency said.

The announcements -- which the al-Arabiya news channel said enraged activists -- came less than two weeks after anti-corruption protesters, including opposition Parliament members, stormed into Parliament in Kuwait City to press for the ouster of Prime Minister Sheik Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah.

They accused Nasser of involvement with bribes paid to pro-government Parliament members, who were, in turn, accused of transferring the money to foreign accounts.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheik Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah called the Nov. 16 occupation "preplanned sabotage" by "rioters" and tightened security measures after the Parliament incident.

The Kuwaiti opposition responded, saying the royal family sought to turn Kuwait into "a police state" and vowing to intensify protests "regardless of the price."

The emir blamed opposition forces for "obstructing" the work of government when he accepted the Cabinet resignations Monday, the Kuwait News Agency reported.

The emir then asked Nasser -- his nephew -- and the Cabinet members to remain in office "pending formation of a new government," the news agency reported.

The emir gave no timetable for the new government's formation.

Opposition groups -- including liberals, Islamists, student groups and for the first time tribal chiefs -- geared up for a mass rally in Kuwait City's Erada Square in front of Parliament to demand the questioning of Nasser over corruption charges, al-Arabiya said.

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