Kuwait Emir forms new government days after dissolving parliament

Sheikh Meshal has approved a cabinet made up of 13 ministers, including two women

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Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Meshal has approved a new cabinet days after dissolving parliament and suspending some articles of the constitution for up to four years.

Sheikh Meshal on Friday dissolved the National Assembly a month after it was elected. He suspended some articles of the constitution over "interference" from politicians, amid disputes that have lasted for several years.

The new government – Kuwait’s 46th since 1962 – is to be led by Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al Abdullah Al Sabah and will be made up of 13 ministers, two of them women.

Sheikh Ahmad is a Kuwaiti economist and has served as head of the Crown Prince’s Court since 2021. In 2009, he was appointed minister of oil and minister of information, holding those portfolios for two years.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, congratulated Sheikh Ahmad and wished him success in his new duties to serve Kuwait.

The previous prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al Salem, refused to take up the post again amid tension between the government and the 50-member National Assembly.

Disputes between appointed members of the government and elected MPs have often led to political paralysis. Elections were held in April, the fourth poll to be held since December 2020.

Kuwait's opposition won the most seats in the elections, maintaining their years-long hold over parliament. MPs have previously accused ministers of corruption, while the government has blamed parliament for hampering development plans.

Sheikh Meshal became Emir in December after the death of his predecessor and half-brother, Sheikh Nawaf.

Under Kuwait’s constitution, a new government must be formed within two weeks of an election. Since the vote on April 4, tension between the elected parliament and the appointed Prime Minister has caused that process to stall.

All aspects of the democratic process will be studied while the articles of the constitution are suspended, Sheikh Meshal said.

“Unfortunately, we have faced some unimaginable, unbearable difficulties and impediments,” the Emir said in an address to the country on Friday. “We were left with no option other than taking this hard decision to rescue the country and protect its higher national interests, and resources of the nation.”

Sheikh Meshal has not yet named a crown prince. The Emir would normally need parliament to endorse his nominee.

During the speech, Sheikh Meshal said some people interfered with his power to choose a crown prince, and warned he would not allow the political system to be exploited to “destroy” the country.

Who is in the new government?

1 - Fahad Al Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Interior Minister

2 - Shereeda Al Mousherji, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs

3 - Dr Imad Al Atiqi, Deputy Prime Minister and Oil Minister

4 - Abdulrahman Al Mutairi, Minister of Information and Culture

5 - Dr Ahmad Al Awadhi, Minister of Health

6 - Dr Anwar Al Mudhaf, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Economic and Investment Affairs

7 - Dr Adel Al Adwani, Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research

8 - Abdullah Al Yahya, Minister of Foreign Affairs

9 - Dr Noura Al Mashaan, Minister of Public Works and Minister of Municipality Affairs

10 - Dr Mohammad Al Wasmi, Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs

11 - Omar Al Omar, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Minister of State for Communication Affairs

12 - Dr Mohammad Bushehri, Minister of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy, and Minister of State for Housing Affairs

13 - Dr Amthal Al Huwailah, Minister of Social Affairs, Labour, Family Affairs and Childhood and Minister of State for Youth Affairs

Updated: May 14, 2024, 5:29 PM