KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday swore in the new 16-member Cabinet which includes seven members of the ruling family and three newcomers in addition to new ministers of finance, oil, defense and interior. The Amir called on the new Cabinet, the 33rd Kuwaiti government since independence, to establish “positive and fruitful” cooperation with the new National Assembly in order to push economic development, improve services and resolve problems facing citizens.
Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, forming his fifth Cabinet since he was appointed to the post in Nov 2011, responded by assuring the Amir that the government will extend hands of cooperation to the newly-elected MPs to “open a new page in Kuwait’s history”. The Cabinet, the 12th since Feb 2006, was formed following the Assembly elections on July 27 following the constitutional court’s decision in June to nullify the previous election in Dec 2012 and to dissolve the previous Assembly. It was the second election in eight months and the sixth since June 2006.
The new Cabinet has six members from the ruling Al-Sabah family in addition to the prime minister. Ruling family members continue to monopolize key posts in the so-called “sovereign ministries” of defense, interior and foreign affairs. They also occupy the ministries of finance, health and information. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah retained his post as foreign minister while the defense and interior ministers were replaced. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, interior minister until 2003, was appointed as interior minister. Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, the army chief of staff, was appointed defense minister, replacing Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah.
Former Central Bank governor Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah was appointed finance minister, replacing Mustafa Al-Shamali who was moved to the oil portfolio. Sheikh Salem resigned as Central Bank governor in Feb 2012 and warned in his resignation letter that public spending had increased to unprecedented and unsustainably high levels, jeopardising fiscal and monetary stability. Between 2006 and 2012, government spending tripled to more than $70 billion with the overwhelming majority going to support salary increases and state subsidies. […]