Kuwaiti protests on Tuesday aim to remove PM

Mon Mar 7, 2011 1:43pm GMT
 

By Eman Goma

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwaiti youth groups will take to the streets on Tuesday to demand the removal of the prime minister and for more political freedom in the Gulf Arab state, the world's fourth largest oil exporter.

The protests, inspired by Arab unrest across the Middle East and North Africa that has toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, will add to pressure for political reforms.

The protest organisers want Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah to be replaced, and some demand the appointment of a politician from outside the al-Sabah family, which has ruled Kuwait for some 250 years.

"We will also distribute watermelons to lawmakers as they enter the parliament on Tuesday, as a symbol of chaos and discontent with their performance," Mubarak Alhaza, a member of the Kafi (Enough) youth movement, told Reuters.

Kuwait is home to the Gulf region's most outspoken parliament, but it does not allow political parties. Parliament is made up of individuals who form loose blocs.

Shafiq Ghabra, a political science professor at Kuwait University, said he expected the protests on Tuesday to be calmer than those that erupted in other Gulf states.

"We're talking about reforms in political rights, governance, cabinet, education. In each country, every movement has a different nature. In Kuwait the movement is not to end the regime, but to reform the politics," Ghabra said.

The prime minister, a nephew of the ruler, has already survived two non-cooperation motions in parliament since he was appointed by the emir in 2006. All other key portfolios such as defence, interior and foreign affairs are also held by al-Sabahs. The emir has the final say in all political matters.   Continued...

 
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