Caption: Al Ghanem addressing the media - Al Jarida

Manama: Kuwait’s parliament Speaker Marzouq Al Ghanem has dismissed rumours that Prime Minister Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah had resigned.

Social media, particularly Twitter, in the northern Arabian Gulf state said that the prime minister and six minsters had handed in their resignation.

The claims specifically mentioned Interior Minister Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah, Interior Minister Shaikh Khalid Al Jarrah Al Sabah, Minister of Commerce and Industry Khalid Al Roudhan, State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al Saleh and Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Hind Al Sabeeh.

However, the Speaker told reporters at the parliament that the claims were groundless.

“Unfortunately, we have now become used to numerous rumours that are not grounded in reality and lack credibility,” he said, urging Kuwaitis to dismiss allegations and to rely only on trusted sources for their information.

Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah on Wednesday reported that the prime minister went abroad on a private visit to Britain and Germany for medical check-ups. The visit had been scheduled some time ago, the paper added, quoting mistrial sources it did not name.

Al Mubarak’s trip abroad could trigger a heated debate on how to deal constitutionally with a motion that lawmaker Hamadan Al Azemi intends to present to quiz the prime minster over the “unjust” electoral districts in the municipal elections next month.

While some sources said that the deputy prime minister should be the one to respond to the quizzing, a constitutional expert told Al Seyassah that no-one can replace a minister in such cases.

“The statute does not allow anyone to replace the minister who is facing a quizzing by lawmakers,” Mohammad Al Fili said. “The parliament will have to decide a date for the quizzing after the prime minister comes back.”

The current Kuwaiti government was formed on December 11 more than one month after the previous cabinet resigned following the quizzing of one of its members during a parliamentary session.

The resignation indicated the difficult balance Kuwait’s government hopes to strike between austerity, public support and effective governance while the opposition in parliament, a loose coalition of tribal and Islamist MPs, slows its austerity agenda adopted in response to low oil prices, with some lawmakers resorting to populist proposals.