Kuwait Central Bank Chief Resigns

Published February 13, 2012 10:36AM (EST)

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — The head of Kuwait's central bank of more than 25 years has resigned, state media said Monday, in the latest shake-up among the Gulf nation's veteran policymakers as political tensions grow.

The official Kuwait News Agency said Sheik Salem Abdulaziz Al Sabah, a member of the Gulf nation's ruling family, has stepped down after serving as Central Bank governor since 1986.

The one-sentence announcement gave no immediate reason for his resignation.

But the government-backed Al Qabas newspaper said Sheik Salem had raised objections to Kuwait's rising public spending, including substantial wage increases for oil workers and others. Labor groups staged a series of strikes in October demanding pay hikes in the oil-rich nation.

Sheik Salem also was linked by opposition lawmakers to a corruption scandal that alleged officials received government payoffs.

No formal charges have been made from the accusations, but it was part of political tensions that led to the resignation of the prime minister in November. That opened the way for parliamentary elections held earlier this month, which were dominated by opposition groups that include hard-line Islamists.

In 2007, Sheik Salem broke ranks with Gulf neighbors and abandoned the U.S. dollar peg for Kuwait's currency in an effort to tame inflation.

By Salon Staff

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