Kuwait opposition protesters storm parliament as political tensions rise
Opposition lawmakers warned Wednesday of a growing political crisis after dozens of anti-government protesters muscled their way into Kuwait’s parliament during debate over efforts to question the prime minister about corruption allegations.
Local media reported the demonstrators briefly chanted before being forced out as hundreds of others protested outside.
Opposition parliament members have sought to question Prime Minister Sheik Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah over claims that government officials illegally transferred money to accounts outside the Gulf country. Last month, Kuwait’s foreign minister resigned as the scandal grew.
Pro-government lawmakers managed to vote down a request for the questioning, but opposition groups filed another motion to force another debate later this month.
Kuwait’s key affairs are run by the ruling Al Sabah family, but it has one of the region’s most politically active parliaments.
The prime minister has survived votes of confidence in parliament in the past and Kuwait’s ruling system does not appear in jeopardy from the opposition groups, which include Islamist parties and others.
But it highlights the rising political tensions inside the strategic Western ally, which could host thousands more U.S. soldiers under a Pentagon proposal to strengthen Gulf forces following the withdrawal from Iraq.
Last months, Kuwait was hit by a wave of strikes that grounded the state airline and threatened to disrupt oil shipments.