Kuwait City: Kuwait`s Emir Sheikh Sabah
al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on Wednesday swore in the new cabinet with only
minor changes to the government that resigned in November over
allegations of corruption.
Sheikh Sabah urged Kuwaiti voters to abandon factional,
sectarian and tribal allegiances while choosing
representatives in an upcoming general election which he said
would usher in a new era for the oil-rich Gulf state.
Former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad
Al-Sabah resigned on November 28 over allegations of
corruption and after mass rallies demanding his ouster
organised by the opposition
One week later, the emir dissolved parliament for the
fourth time in under six years.
The new cabinet, which includes only minor changes, is
headed by former defence minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak
Al-Sabah, and is comprised of just 10 ministers, all of whom
held posts in the previous cabinet.
Interior minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Humud Al-Sabah, a senior
member of the ruling family, has been entrusted with the
defence portfolio, while the foreign affairs, oil, finance,
electricity and water ministries remain unchanged.
The newly appointed cabinet is the eighth to be formed in
Kuwait since February 2006. All previous cabinets were forced
to resign over political disputes.
A decree for the upcoming election -- which must be held
within 60 days of the dissolution of the 50-seat parliament --
was expected to be issued later Wednesday.
The new compact cabinet will serve for several weeks as
stipulated by Kuwaiti law, which calls on the government to
resign after declaring election results.
Kuwait has been rocked by a series of almost non-stop
political disputes since Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir,
was appointed premier in February 2006.
Kuwait is OPEC`s third largest producer, pumping about 3.0
million barrels of oil per day. It has a native population of
1.2 million and 2.4 million foreign residents.
Despite accumulating massive assets exceeding $300 billion
from high oil prices, development projects have been stalled
because of the political turmoil.