Kuwait announces formation of new Cabinet to defuse crisis

Image Credit: Kuwait-Ra’ed Qutena

Kuwait on Monday announced the formation of a new government to defuse a protracted political feud blocking economic reforms in the oil-rich state.

Kuwait’s newly-appointed prime minister, Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al Sabah, will lead the 12-member Cabinet until the dissolution of parliament ahead of early elections, the country’s state-run news agency, KUNA, reported. The date of the vote has yet to be announced.

It represents Kuwait’s fifth government in the last two years, as the country’s emir-appointed Cabinet and elected parliament battle over power-sharing. Some ministers from previous administrations were reappointed to their posts, including Abduwahab al-Rushaid, the outspoken finance minister known for his criticism of the government’s fiscal policies. The ministers will take over from the caretaker government that had submitted its resignation over three months ago.

Unique among Gulf Arab sheikhdoms, Kuwait’s raucous elected parliament wields genuine power. But the political disputes have paralyzed decision-making in the crucial OPEC state, creating major budgetary problems during the low oil prices of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a bid to break the deadlock and placate opposition lawmakers frustrated with the prime minister and the political paralysis, Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmed Al Jaber earlier this summer announced he would dissolve parliament and call snap legislative elections.

Last week, the country named the ruling emir’s son, Sheikh Ahmad, as the new prime minister. The 66-year-old former deputy prime minister and interior minister was widely seen as a conservative yet popular choice.