Dr Ali Uraibi told Aljazeera.net: "Friday's cabinet reshuffle is just that - a reshuffle. It will not bring any substantial change to the government.

"Bahrain has faced some difficulties before, with many people protesting over the standard of living here. Bahrainis were hoping the government would make some real changes but that is not going to happen."

Uraibi said Bahraini citizens remain dissatisfied with the government and the kingdom's poor standard of living.

Bahraini officials were unavailable for comment.

Consultation

However, Shaikh Ali Salman, the head of the main Shia Muslim opposition party, welcomed the limited reshuffle - the first since 2002 in this Sunni Muslim-ruled Gulf state - but criticised the government for not consulting with parliament.

Leading the Al Wifaq Islamic Society, Salman thinks the new cabinet is a positive move as some of the old ministers have been removed.

"But these changes took place without consulting parliament. We would also have liked to see the numbers of royals in the cabinet decreased," he said.

Key posts unchanged

Bahrain's King Hamad changed the country's cabinet on Friday, creating a ministry of social affairs that will be headed by the second woman to join the government.

 

Dr Fatima Al Balushi, a former Bahrain University College of Education dean, will join Dr Nada Haffadh, the health minister, in the Cabinet.

 

Although the finance, information and justice ministers were replaced, strategic posts were not changed.

 

The defence, interior, foreign affairs and oil ministers - all members of the al Khalifa family which ruled Bahrain for more than two centuries - kept their posts.

 

Bahrain, the headquarters of the US navy's Fifth Fleet, elected its first parliament since 1973 in 2002. The outgoing government was appointed before the assembly was reinstated.

 

The new cabinet was sworn in on Saturday.