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Kuwaiti Emir Appoints New Prime Minister

Following a stunning Islamic victory in Kuwait's polls, Kuwait's ruler has tapped his trusted conferee Sheikh Jaber to head the new cabinet
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 2/7/2012, 10:16 PM

Sheik al-Sabah
Sheik al-Sabah
White House Photo

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah has tapped caretaker prime minister Shaikh Jaber Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah to head the next government following the nation's parliamentary elections.

According to Gulf News, Sheikh Jaber will now form the government and will present the names of the ministers to the Emir for endorsement.

The decree was announced after Sheikh Sabah held separate consultations with former parliament speakers Ahmad Al Saadoon and Jassem Al Khorafi, and the former prime minister Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad.

Sheikh Nasser's government fell last year amid a scandal in which $350 million in public funds are said to have gone missing from public coffers, which resulted in opposition figures storming the parliament.

The scandal widened into a proble of fifteen Kuwaiti lawmakers who are said to have sold their votes to the government on critical issues, including voting against no-confidence motions.

Despite the scandaal, Sheikh Nasser is durable figure in Kuwaiti politics, having resigned his post as prime minister 7 times between 2006 and his latest government's fall in 2011.

However, many Kuwaits are less concerned about who will be running the government as they are the new parliament’s heavily sectarian composition.

Ahmad Al Khatib, the deputy chairman of the 1962 constituent assembly that drafted the constitution, told Kuwait's Arabic daily Al Rai, "The regional developments, the fuelling of sectarianism in some countries and the rise of Islamist movements have had a strong impact on the parliamentary elections in Kuwait."

Women failed to retain their foothold and and liberals were confined to one seat as Islamists and candidates supported by various tribal factions cruised to victory.

Many analysts have lamented the "strange" formation of the parliament and predicted that it would not last its four-year term and that there would be new elections.

Al Khatib said the Islamists adopted the programs of the liberals, even though they had been against it, and managed to sell their rhetoric to the voters.

"Liberals who have failed to materialize their programs and should now learn from their mistakes," he said. "The Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood, who were well organized and smart, teamed up with the Salafis despite their differences in order to achieve a major victory."