Kuwait's Emir issues decree forming new government under PM Sheikh Sabah

Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah forms his fourth Cabinet in two years

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Sabah was reappointed last month to form a new government following the resignation of his previous Cabinet. Reuters
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Kuwait’s Emir issued a decree on Tuesday to form a new government under Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Sabah.

Sheikh Sabah has given Emir Sheikh Nawaf a list of the proposed names for the new 15-member Cabinet, the Kuwait News Agency reported.

Sheikh Sabah was reappointed last month to form a new government following the resignation of his previous Cabinet after a political stand-off with the Kuwaiti Parliament.

Also reappointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil is Mohammed Abdul Latif Al Fares, who has announced an oil production target for the ministry of 3.5 million barrels per day by 2025 from the current 2.6m bpd production average.

If reached, the production target will reverse a recent decline in the country’s oil output.

The latest government formation comes after Sheikh Nawaf issued two decrees last month granting pardons or reduced sentences for 35 dissidents.

At the time, a government source told The National that the formation of the new Cabinet would include opposition MPs while the prime minister and speaker of Parliament would keep their posts.

National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al Ghanim said on Monday he hoped the prime minister would form a Cabinet that “meets the aspirations of the Kuwaiti people”. He confirmed that Parliament would resume its sessions from January 4 if a Cabinet was formed this week.

Reconciliation effort

Hopes have run high that some degree of reconciliation would help ease the passage of delayed laws.

Abdulwahab Al Rushaid replaces Khalifa Hamada as finance minister, state media reported. Mr Al Rushaid was head of the Kuwait Economics Society, which represents the views of private sector business.

He arrives in the post following government efforts to temporarily boost finances while more structural and fiscal reforms have yet to be passed, including a debt law to tap international markets.

Mr Al Rushaid is widely seen as an outspoken, young figure with substantial support from merchant families.

Kuwaiti analysts on social media suggested that the new appointments could weaken the sway of opposition members of Parliament who have blocked government reforms.

He will also now head the Kuwait Investment Authority, which manages the country’s $700 billion sovereign wealth fund, designed to reduce dependence on oil-related investments.

The Opec member, home to about 8.5 per cent of the world’s oil reserves, posted a record budget deficit in the last fiscal year due in part to a plunge in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

Years of political tension have stymied efforts to diversify the oil-reliant economy and promote foreign investment, leaving Kuwait particularly vulnerable.

More parliamentarians now have tribal representation in the new Cabinet and may be persuaded to support the government.

Sheikh Nawaf wished the prime minister luck and expressed “hope that the executive and legislative branches would co-operate for the sake of Kuwait’s development and welfare”, the state-run KUNA news agency reported.

Who is in Kuwait's new Cabinet?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence: Hamad Jaber Al Ali Al Sabah

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior: Ahmad Mansour Al Ahmad Al Sabah

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Oil, and Minister of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy: Dr Mohammed Abdul Latif Al Fares

Minister of Awqaf (Endowment) and Islamic Affairs: Issa Ahmad Al Kandari

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs: Dr Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah

Minister of State for Municipal Affairs and Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology: Dr Rana Abdullah Al Fares

Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research: Dr Ali Fahad Al Mudhaf

Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Nazaha (Integrity) Enhancement: Justice Jamal Hadhel Al Jalwai

Minister of Information and Minister of Culture: Dr Hamad Ahmad Rouhaddeen

Minister of Health: Dr Khaled Mhawes Al Saeed

Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Economic Affairs and Investment: Abdulwahab Mohammed Al Rushaid

Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Youth Affairs: Ali Hussein Al Mousa

Minister of Commerce and Industry: Fahad Mutlaq Al Shurai'an

Minister of Social Affairs and Community Development: Mubarak Zaid Al Mutairi

Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Urban Development: Mubarak Zaid Al Mutairi

Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs: Mohammad Obaid Al Rajhi

Updated: December 28, 2021, 8:00 PM