Kuwait forms cabinet with new oil, finance and defence ministers

The governmental shake-up is the result of snap elections as the Gulf nation grapples with ongoing political bickering.

Kuwaiti parliament session in December 2020
A view of a Kuwaiti parliament session in December 2020 [File: Stephanie McGehee/Reuters]

Kuwait’s fifth government in less than one year took the oath of office after elections returned an opposition-controlled parliament, setting the stage for further political turmoil in the oil-rich emirate.

Kuwait’s new government, which was sworn in on Monday, includes Saad al-Barrak as oil minister to replace Bader al-Mulla while Finance Minister Manaf Abdulaziz al-Hajri has kept his portfolio.

The government was named on Sunday after snap elections called by Kuwait’s emir, Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, earlier in June after he had dissolved parliament amid a persistent political deadlock.

The official Kuwait News Agency reported after the elections that opposition politicians won 29 of the legislature’s 50 seats, and 37 lawmakers retained their seats in the elections.

Sheikh Ahmad al-Nawaf al-Ahmad Al Sabah, the son of the emir, was reinstated as prime minister.

The Gulf Arab state also named a new defence minister, Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Ahmed Al Sabah.

Political turmoil

It was the country’s third election in three years following a long-running political crisis and a feud between the government and lawmakers that has hampered fiscal reforms.

The latest election came after the government and the elected parliament had been bickering over a controversial bill that proposed the government take over consumer and personal loans of Kuwaiti citizens.

There was a high degree of voter apathy, with a mere 51 percent turnout.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies