Last updated: 19 July, 2012

Kuwait forms new cabinet with little change

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah issued a decree Thursday naming a new cabinet with little change as most of the ministers in the previous government were retained, the official KUNA news agency said.

The 14-member cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah, is expected to be a temporary government that would dissolve parliament and oversee next elections in the coming few months.

Hani Hussein was reappointed as oil minister and Nayef al-Hajraf was moved from education to finance. Fadhel Safar was retained as minister of public works while Anas al-Saleh was reappointed in the commerce and industry post.

The only newcomer in the cabinet, Rula Dashti, was appointed as planning and development minister. She is the only female and lawmaker in the new cabinet.

The previous cabinet, also headed by Sheikh Jaber, resigned on June 25 after just four months in office, following an unprecedented verdict by the constitutional court nullifying the February legislative polls.

The cabinet stepped down in order to give way to a new government to take the necessary legal and constitutional procedures to implement the constitutional court ruling, according to an official statement.

In its ruling, the constitutional court scrapped the opposition-dominated parliament and reinstated the previous pro-government house, plunging the OPEC member into a new political crisis.

The opposition has demanded that the government should immediately recommend to the emir to dissolve the reinstated 2009 parliament because several of its members were implicated in a corruption scandal.

The 2009 parliament was dissolved in December following youth-led street protests and after former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, resigned.

However, the constitutional court found that the emiri decree dissolving it was flawed and accordingly was revived.

The new cabinet is Kuwait’s 10th since 2006. The oil-rich emirate has been hit with a series of political crisis since then, forcing nine cabinets to resign and dissolving parliament on five occasions.

Disputes between the governments and MPs have stalled development in this wealthy Gulf state which has surpluses of around $400 billion thanks to high oil prices over the past 12 years.

Kuwait, which says it sits on 10 percent of global oil reserves, pumps around three million barrels of crude per day. It has a native population of 1.2 million and 2.5 million foreign residents.