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Kuwaiti Cabinet Plays ‘Musical Chairs’ in Formation of New Government

Kuwait on Monday announced the formation of a new cabinet that looks a lot like the old one, only somewhat reshuffled. The 12-member cabinet is headed by a new premier, the emir’s 66-year-old son Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. But most of the same people will be sitting around the cabinet table, many wearing multiple hats. Talal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah remains deputy prime minister and defense minister – positions he already held – and has a new portfolio, as well, as acting interior minister, filling the shoes of the man now elevated to the premiership. Muhammad Al-Faris will also continue in his previous roles as deputy prime minister and oil minister, and adds to this the job of minister of state for cabinet affairs. The Finance Ministry and Economic Affairs and Investment Ministry will both be headed by Abdul Wahab al-Rasheed, as they previously were. Likewise, Health Minister Khaled Al-Said retains his old job. Fahad Mutlaq Al-Shurayan, who remains at the helm of the Trade and Industry Ministry, will now also head the Social Affairs and Social Development Ministry. And Ahmed Nasser Al-Sabah remains the foreign affairs minister.

For years now, the elected Kuwaiti parliament and the government, appointed by the emir, have been locked in conflict. In April, Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and his cabinet submitted their resignation to Crown Prince Mashaal al-Ahmed al-Sabah to avoid losing a no-confidence vote in parliament. On May 10, the Kuwaiti emir approved the resignation. On June 22, the crown prince dissolved parliament to hold early elections.