New Kuwati Cabinet Sworn In



The emir hoped in a brief speech to the ministers that the new cabinet will put an end to what he termed "political battles" in the oil-rich emirate that has seen several crises over the past two years.



A power struggle within the ruling family and tension between the government and opposition MPs have forced three governments to resign since January last year. Parliament was also dissolved in the process and fresh elections held.


The last government was forced to step down on March 4 after barely eight months in office to avoid then health minister Sheikh Ahmed al-Abdullah al-Sabah being voted out of office by opposition MPs.


Sheikh Ahmed, a senior member of the ruling family, was dropped from the new cabinet but said he had chosen to step aside because the political situation was "not helpful."


He told Al-Qabas daily that "it was very difficult for him to continue with such a government," which he branded as "weak and has no programme."


Sheikh Ahmad also predicted that relations between the government and the opposition-dominated parliament would remain tense, saying that he was not optimistic about the situation.


There were no major changes in the new line-up with members of the ruling family still controlling the main posts of defence, interior, foreign affairs and oil.


The cabinet also includes four Islamists, three liberals and a number of technocrats.


Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Sabah and his cabinet all have ex-officio seats in parliament. They will be sworn in as MPs on April 2.


One of the ministers already faces the threat of being hauled before parliament to answer MPs’ questions.


Islamist-tribal MP Daifallah Buramia said he wanted to question Finance Minister Bader Mishari al-Humaidhi about his opposition to a proposal to forgive Kuwaiti citizens billions of dollars in private bank loans.


But the six MPs of the Islamic Constitutional Movement, the Kuwaiti branch of the Sunni Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, welcomed the new cabinet and vowed to cooperate with it.


ICM spokesman Mohammad al-Olaim was included in the cabinet as minister of electricity and water after splitting the energy portfolio.


MP Mohammad al-Sager, a member of the national bloc,


a liberal grouping, also welcomed the cabinet and called for adopting a timetable for reforms and fighting corruption.


Kuwait sits on 10 percent of global oil reserves and has a native population of one million besides 2.16 million foreign residents.

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