Kuwait gets new oil, defence ministers, 10 new faces in cabinet
KUWAIT CITY KUWAIT’S Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Sabah named a new cabinet on Tuesday with 10 new faces, including the oil and defence ministers, and no women, despite objections from the opposition.
Hani Hussein, a former chief executive officer of the national oil conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp, was appointed oil minister, replacing Mohammad al- Baseeri.
Sheikh Ahmad Khaled al Sabah, a member of the ruling family and former chief of staff, was appointed defence minister.
Mustafa al-Shamali, the long-serving finance minister, kept his job.
The new cabinet does not include a single Islamist, the largest opposition bloc that scored an impressive victory in the February 2 general elections when they won 23 seats in the 50-member parliament.
The 16-member cabinet was announced less than a day after failure in talks between Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al- Sabah and the opposition to include more newly elected MPs.
The opposition said in a statement Monday that it accepted an offer from the prime minister to take part in the government but it demanded nine portfolios.
The premier offered them only three posts, and they refused, the statement said.
But Shuaib al-Muwaizri, an opposition MP, decided to independently accept a ministerial post to become the only elected MP in the new cabinet line-up.
Al Muwaizri was named state minister for housing and parliamentary affairs.
The snap elections were held after youth-led street protests forced former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al Ahmad al Sabah to step down in late November.
Soon after, parliament was dissolved for the fourth time in less than six years.
Women were not represented in the cabinet for the first time since 2005, the same year parliament granted them the right to vote.
Women also failed to secure a single parliament seat in the latest elections.
All four women who made history in the 2009 polls by getting elected to office, lost their seats in the February polls.
Aside from the prime minister, the cabinet includes four other members from the ruling family, including those in charge of the socalled sovereign ministries of defence, interior and foreign affairs, all traditionally controlled by the emir’s relatives, as well as the ministry of information.
Some candidates in the February elections called for an end to the Al Sabah monopoly over the sovereign ministries, but to no avail.
Some opposition MPs have already voiced their objections to the newly formed cabinet.
Islamist MP Waleed al- Tabtabai predicted the new cabinet will not survive for long.
“This is like a caretaker cabinet. It includes several members who are likely to trigger crises and its formation followed the same old style,” Tabtabai said in a statement.
Mohammad al Dallal, another Islamist MP, was critical of the decision to retain the finance minister.