In the midst of its ongoing political crisis, Kuwait has announced a new government, the oil-rich country’s seventh in three years.
The announcement came on Sunday, with the previous government having resigned in January, just three months after taking office.
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“A decree from the Emir has been issued (to validate) the formation of the new government led by Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah,” the government tweeted.
The key portfolios of foreign affairs and oil, run by Salem Abdullah al-Jaber Al Sabah and Bader al-Mulla, respectively, have not changed, while Manaf Abdulaziz al-Hajrey was made minister for finance and economic and investment affairs.
Amani Suleiman Buqammaz now holds the public works portfolio, while Mai Jazzem al-Baghli holds social affairs, the only two women in the cabinet.
“The biggest challenge for the government is to regain the trust of the people,” said Ahmad al-Din, a member of the political bureau of the Kuwaiti Progressive Movement, Reuters news agency reported.
“The removal of Abd al-Wahhab al-Rasheed [former finance minister], who was an element of tension with the 2022 parliament, indicates that the current government is betting on the return of the 2022 parliament,” he added.
The group also said in a statement that the formation of the new government comes as the political crisis in Kuwait continues – a crisis it says cannot be resolved unless the “authoritarian, non-democratic approach” by the state is changed and “the sheikhdom mentality is abandoned”.
Despite holding one of the world’s largest oil reserves and having a strong fiscal and external balance sheet, turmoil between Kuwait’s parliament and executive has stalled much-needed investments and reforms.
Social services like healthcare and education are decaying due to continuous rifts between elected lawmakers and cabinets put in place by the ruling Al Sabah family.
Prime Minister Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al Sabah tendered the previous government’s resignation in January just as lawmakers were planning to grill ministers over the management of state finances.
In March, however, the constitutional court nullified the results of legislative elections held last year – where the opposition nabbed the most seats – and reinstated the previous parliament instead.