Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on Wednesday swore in the new cabinet with only minor changes to the government that resigned in November over allegations of corruption.
Sheikh Sabah urged Kuwaiti voters to abandon factional, sectarian and tribal allegiances while choosing representatives in an upcoming general election which he said would usher in a new era for the oil-rich Gulf state.
Former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah resigned on November 28 over allegations of corruption and after mass rallies demanding his ouster organised by the opposition.
One week later, the emir dissolved parliament for the fourth time in under six years.
The new cabinet, which includes only minor changes, is headed by former defence minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah, and is comprised of just 10 ministers, all of whom held posts in the previous cabinet.
Interior minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Humud Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, has been entrusted with the defence portfolio, while the foreign affairs, oil, finance, electricity and water ministries remain unchanged.
The newly appointed cabinet is the eighth to be formed in Kuwait since February 2006. All previous cabinets were forced to resign over political disputes.
A decree for the upcoming election — which must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of the 50-seat parliament — was expected to be issued later Wednesday.
The new compact cabinet will serve for several weeks as stipulated by Kuwaiti law, which calls on the government to resign after declaring election results.
Kuwait has been rocked by a series of almost non-stop political disputes since Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir, was appointed premier in February 2006.
Kuwait is OPEC’s third largest producer, pumping about 3.0 million barrels of oil per day. It has a native population of 1.2 million and 2.4 million foreign residents.
Despite accumulating massive assets exceeding $300 billion from high oil prices, development projects have been stalled because of the political turmoil.