Cabinet resigns; inaugural Assembly session on Dec 11 Opposition urged to unite for speaker’s post
Kuwait to buy 28 US F-18 jets
Kuwait will buy 28 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets to replace a fleet of earlier versions of the US fighter jets, a top official said yesterday. The value of the deal is not expected to exceed $5 billion, the KUNA state news agency reported the head of armament and procurement at Kuwait’s defense ministry as saying. Maj Gen Lafi AlAzmi said the deal stipulates the supplier will repurchase the old Hornet fighter jets from Kuwait. He added that details of the sale would only be disclosed after it is officially signed. “Given Kuwait’s proximity to turbulent locations, we certainly need effective military equipment,” he was quoted as saying.
The US State Department this month said it has authorized the deal, as well as the sale of 72 F-15 Strike Eagle jets to Kuwait’s Gulf neighbor Qatar at an estimated value of $21 billion. In April, Kuwait signed a contract with Italy’s Finmeccanica for the purchase of 28 Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes for under Ä8 billion ($8.5 billion).
The Cabinet tendered its resignation to HH the Amir yesterday following the parliamentary elections as required under the Kuwaiti constitution. The action is not linked to the strong showing of the opposition groups in the snap general election, but is a procedural requirement. After the Amir holds customary consultations with former Assembly speakers and premiers expected to start from today, he will either reappoint outgoing Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak AlSabah or ask another senior member of the ruling family to form the next Cabinet.
Before stepping down, the Cabinet approved an Amiri decree calling for the new National Assembly to hold its inaugural session on Dec 11 after forming the new Cabinet. The new Cabinet is expected to undergo a great change to reflect the results of the Assembly election, especially with the opposition and its allies winning nearly half of the 50 seats. This will enable the opposition to grill and even vote ministers out of office because they need a maximum of 25 votes. They also can grill the premier and vote him out of office. The new Cabinet is expected to be formed next week. There have been demands by many election candidates, some of whom won Assembly seats, for appointing new faces in the Cabinet.
In the meantime, the battle for the next speaker appears to have started. Opposition leader and former Islamist MP Faisal Al-Mislem called on the three opposition aspirants for the post - MPs Abdullah Al-Roumi, Mohammad Al-Mutair and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri - to select one candidate between themselves to face the speaker of the outgoing house Marzouq Al-Ghanem.
The support of the government, which will have its 16 members as one bloc, is critical for the next speaker. Without the government votes, it is extremely difficult for anyone to win.
The National Assembly in March approved spending an additional $500 million as an advance payment for the jets. That funding came on top of $10 billion additional defense spending already approved by parliament in January to upgrade the country’s military. Kuwait is a member of the USled coalition bombing Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq, and is also taking part in a Saudi-led coalition pounding Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Last year, it bought 24 Caracal military tactical transport helicopters and French light armored vehicles. — Agencies
KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah (right) submits the Cabinet’s resignation to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at Bayan Palace yesterday. —- KUNA By B Izzak KUWAIT: