Kuwait’s new cabinet changes oil, defense ministers, but is devoid of women
Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, formed a new cabinet with 10 new faces, including the oil and defense ministers, state television reported on Tuesday.
But the 16-member cabinet does not include any women.
The former head of Kuwait’s state petroleum corporation (KPC), Hani Hussein, was appointed oil minister, while former military chief of staff Sheikh Sabah was given the post of defense minister.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmed al-Hamoud al-Sabah held onto his portfolio, as did Finance Minister Mustapha al-Shamali.
The new cabinet comes after a snap parliamentary election in which the Islamist-led opposition won a solid majority and secured a controlling majority in the 50-member parliament.
Some two-thirds of the national assembly seats were won by candidates who opposed the former government, according to analysts who examined the official results.
The opposition won 34 seats in the 50-member parliament, with Sunni Islamists, including Salafists, becoming the most formidable bloc in the house, with 23 members.
The announcement of a new cabinet came less than a day after failure in talks between outgoing Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah and the opposition to include more newly elected MPs.
Earlier this month, the Kuwaiti emir had asked Sheikh Jaber to form a new government following a general election won by the Islamist-led opposition.
Sheikh Jaber, a senior member of the ruling al-Sabah family, had previously submitted the resignation of his cabinet, as required by the constitution after a general election.
He was appointed in December after the previous cabinet resigned in response to a political deadlock that has stymied reform and held up vital development projects in the major oil exporter.
Opposition candidates had been tipped to expand their influence in parliament, riding on a wave of popular frustration with corruption and political paralysis.
That anger came to a head in November, when protesters stormed the chamber demanding the resignation of former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed al-Sabah, whom they accused of graft.
Women failed to win a single seat after making history in the 2009 election by winning four seats for the first time.
(english.alarabiya.net / 14.02.2012)