Kuwait swears in fourth government in two years

AFP

2 min read
Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, right, receives Prime Minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, in Kuwait, December 28, 2021.
KUNA via APSheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, right, receives Prime Minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, in Kuwait, December 28, 2021.

Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab state with a fully elected parliament

A new Kuwaiti government was sworn in on Wednesday, the oil-rich Gulf emirate's fourth in two years after the last one resigned in November amid political deadlock. 

Kuwait was shaken by disputes between elected lawmakers and successive governments dominated by the ruling Al-Sabah family for over a decade, with parliaments and cabinets dissolved several times. 

The last government called it quits in November in the face of a standoff with parliament over reforms. 

The cabinet was sworn in before the crown prince, the official KUNA news agency reported. 

It is the fourth government that Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah formed since he was appointed prime minister in December 2019.

Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab state with a fully elected parliament, which enjoys broad legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office. 

Oil Minister Mohammed al-Fares and Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser al-Mohammed Al-Sabah retain their posts in the reshuffle. 

However, the new lineup includes a critical voice in Finance Minister Abdulwahab Al-Rushaid, who earlier this month called on the government to "focus on a sustainable economy rather than on the fluctuations of oil prices.” 

Like most Gulf countries, Kuwait's economy and public finances were hit by the Covid pandemic and the slumping price of oil. 

In last year's elections, the opposition and its allies won nearly half of parliament's 50 seats.

The polls were the first ones since the new emir, Sheikh Nawaf, took power on the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Sabah, at 91.

There have been mounting calls for reform in Kuwait in recent years, where expatriate residents make up 70 percent of the 4.8 million population.

Video poster