Kuwait Forms New Cabinet

Kuwait's Emir has accepted the recommendation of his prime minister for a new government after a tulmitous election campaign.

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Gabe Kahn.,

Sheik al-Sabah
Sheik al-Sabah
White House Photo

Kuwait on Tuesday announced a new cabinet led by Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah.

The government, announced in a decree by the Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, took the oath this afternoon, one day before the newly-elected parliament convenes for the first time since the elections on February 2.

The campaigns leading up to the election were contentious and saw arson, riots, and the storming of a television station.

The cabinet does not include any women in a development that reflects the results of the elections in which none of the 23 women candidates won a seat in the 50-member parliament.

Liberal parties only won a single mandate with Islamist parties backed by tribal allegiances sweeping the elections.

The former head of Kuwait's state petroleum corporation (KPC), Hani Hussain, was appointed oil minister, while former military chief of staff Sheikh Ahmad Al Khalid Al Sabah was given the post of defence minister.

Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al Hamoud Al Sabah held onto his portfolio, as did Finance Minister Mustafa Al Shamali.

However, other ministers from the previous government of Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad – which resigned en toto amid a corruption scandal that saw opposition parties storm the parliament – did not retain their positions.

The new government and parliament were elected on platforms of corruption-busting and political reform.

Some USD 350 million are believed to have been plundered from Kuwaits public coffers during Sheikh Nasser's term as Prime Minister. Some 15 lawmakers from the previous parliament are believed to have sold key votes - such as support to defeat no-confidence motions - to Sheikh Nasser's government.

The Emir decree stated that the names of the ministers in the cabinet formed upon a recommendation of the Prime Minister, is to be communicated to the National Assembly, Kuwait news Agency (Kuna) reported.

The Emir appointed Sheikh Jaber as Prime Minister and tasked him with forming the cabinet on February 6.