Kuwait ruler names son defence minister
KUWAIT CITY – The Kuwaiti ruler swore in a new government on Monday, handing the defence ministry to his eldest son and appointing new oil and finance ministers.
The move comes weeks after the previous government, which had been formed a year ago, resigned following a dispute with members of parliament who filed a no-confidence motion against a senior minister.
Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah issued a decree naming the new line-up with Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, staying on as prime minister.
Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the emir’s eldest son aged 69, was appointed as first deputy premier and defence minister. This is the first ministerial job for Sheikh Nasser, who has been the head of the royal court since early 2006. He is seen as the main driving force behind “Silk City,” one of Kuwait’s mega projects with investments estimated at more than $100 billion.
The 16-member cabinet features nine newcomers, including changes at the oil and finance ministries.
Bakheet al-Rasheedi, a former top oil executive, replaces the outgoing oil minister Essam al-Marzouk.
Nayef al-Hajraf, former head of the Capital Markets Authority, will take over the finance ministry from Anas al-Saleh who was appointed as state minister for cabinet affairs.
The previous cabinet resigned at the end of October after opposition lawmakers filed a no-confidence motion against Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah, then the state minister for cabinet affairs.
The deputies accused him of alleged financial and administrative irregularities, which he denied.
Sheikh Mohammad, a senior member of the royal family, was left out from the new cabinet.
Kuwait is the only Gulf state with a fully elected parliament and the government is controlled by the ruling family.
The oil-rich country has been shaken by political disputes between lawmakers and the government for over a decade with parliament and cabinets dissolved several times.
Kuwait, with a native population of 1.35 million and 3.1 million foreigners, pumps 2.7 million barrels of oil per day.