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Fistfight breaks out in Kuwait Parliament over budget

The Abdullah Al Salem hall in the Kuwaiti Parliament witnessed skirmishes between Kuwaiti deputies, followed by a fistfight between MPs Hamoud Mubarak and Musaed Al Ardi.

The other deputies intervened to break up the clash during the Kuwaiti National Assembly’s vote on Tuesday, to approve the bill linking the budget of ministries and government departments.

A Twitter video showed rowdy scenes after the vote, supported by 32 out of 63 lawmakers in attendance including 50 elected members and government ministers.

Parliamentary guards entered the hall to restore order as opposition and pro-government MPs quarrelled.

Before the fistfight, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, said that the parliament had approved the government’s budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The session had gone ahead despite opposition lawmakers once again occupying seats reserved for ministers, a tactic they have used in recent weeks to highlight their demand to question the prime minister over a host of issues including corruption.

The budget proposed by the government in January forecasts spending of 23.05 billion dinars ($76.65 billion) for the fiscal year that began on April 1, and a deficit of 12.1 billion dinars.

Wednesday’s parliament vote comes amid a confrontation between the government and parliament that has delayed reforms.

Frequent rows between the government and assembly have over decades led to successive cabinet reshuffles and dissolutions of parliament, hampering investment and reform.

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