Kuwait emir reappoints Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid prime minister after polls

Move follows elections this week in which opposition made gains

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Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf reappointed Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid as prime minister on Tuesday after parliamentary polls in the Gulf Arab state, which faces its worst economic crisis in decades.

The emir has asked Sheikh Sabah to nominate members of a new Cabinet for approval, state media said.

While the emir has the final say in state matters, the prime minister traditionally helps navigate the relationship between government and parliament, where opposition candidates made gains in Saturday's legislative vote.

Analysts said the make-up of the new assembly could affect government reform efforts to address a severe liquidity crunch in the Opec member state caused by low oil prices and the coronavirus outbreak.

Sheikh Sabah, who had been foreign minister since 2011 before being elevated to the post of premier in late 2019, faces the urgent task of overcoming legislative gridlock on a debt law that would allow Kuwait to tap international debt markets to plug a growing budget deficit.

Tribal members made strong gains in the recent parliamentary election while opposition candidates also won more seats, reflecting a desire for change among voters. Liberals fared poorly and many leading pro-government legislators lost their seats.

Frequent rows and deadlocks between Cabinet and the National Assembly, the Gulf region's oldest and most outspoken, led to successive government reshuffles and dissolutions of parliament, affecting investment and economic and fiscal reform in the cradle-to-grave welfare state.

The oil policy of the Opec producer, which is set by a supreme petroleum council, and foreign policy, which is steered by the emir, are unlikely to change under the new government.