Jan 08 2014
KUWAIT: Two Amiri decrees were issued yesterday accepting the resignation of seven ministers and appointing seven others after Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah carried out an expanded reshuffle in his fifth Cabinet that was formed in August following parliamentary elections. The line-up includes a new minister for oil and another for finance after the outgoing ministers
requested to be relieved of their posts. The number of Islamist ministers doubled to four and the number of women and Shiites was cut to just one each from two in the previous lineup.
The new ministers were sworn-in by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who urged the Cabinet to cooperate with the National Assembly to serve the interests of the country. The new developments came two weeks after all the 15 Cabinet ministers submitted their resignations to the prime minister following a series of grillings targeting several ministers and the prime minister himself.
All the ministers who were grilled or were scheduled to be grilled were left out of the cabinet. They include former state minister for planning and development Rola Dashti, state minister for housing and municipality Salem Al-Othaina, minister of social affairs and labour Thekra Al-Rasheedi and education minister Nayef Al-Hajraf. In addition, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, who was state minister for Cabinet affairs and minister of health was relieved of the health portfolio after he was grilled and
remains state minister for Cabinet affairs.
The other three ministers who were not retained are minister of oil Mustafa Al-Shamali, minister of finance Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah and minister of awqaf and Islamic affairs and justice Sharida Al-Maousherji. All the three ministers requested to be left out on health grounds.The new oil minister is Ali Al-Omair, a British-educated Islamist who has been a member of parliament since 2006. Omair, 55, was also given the portfolio of state minister for National Assembly affairs. His appointment raises to two the number of elected MPs in the Cabinet, along with Communications Minister Essa Al-Kandari. Omair is a senior member of the Islamic Salaf Alliance, a pro-government group. The minister of commerce and industry Anas Al-Saleh, a representative of the business community, was moved to the ministry of finance and Abdulmohsen Al-Mudej, a former oil minister and a veteran liberal politician, was appointed as deputy premier and minister of commerce and industry. Nayef Al-Ajmi, an Islamist activist and the deputy dean of the Islamic Studies College at Kuwait University, was appointed minister of awqaf and Islamic affairs and justice, replacing Maousherji. Both are Salafists. Ali Al-Obaidi, the new health minister, had served in the same post briefly about two years ago. He is also an Islamist. The new housing minister Yasser Hasan Abul is the only Shiite member of the Cabinet, down from two in the previous government. Similarly, Hind Al-Sabeeh, a newcomer, is the only female in the Cabinet. She was appointed minister of social affairs and labour and state minister for planning and development, incidentally replacing the two female ministers who held these portfolios in the previous Cabinet, Dashti and Rasheedi.
The number of ruling family members was reduced to six from seven in the previous Cabinet after the departure of the finance minister, but they still control the key ministries of defence, interior and foreign affairs, in addition to information and the state ministry for Cabinet affairs. Activists and several MPs lashed out at the new lineup, with MP Nabeel Al-Fadhl calling it a “rotten eggs” government. “By looking at some of the ministers, we can call this government the rotten eggs Cabinet,” Fadhl said on Twitter in clear reference to claims that some of the new faces back the opposition. MP Youssef Al-Zalzalah said he believes people will regret not keeping the old Cabinet. MP Mohammad Tana said he has reservations on a number of names but added that he will extend a hand of cooperation to the Cabinet. MP Saadoun Hammad said he will file to grill Minister of Electricity and Water and Public Works Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim.
* Sheikh Jaber Prime Minister
* Sheikh Sabah Dep PM, Foreign
* Sheikh Mohammad Dep PM, Interior
* Sheikh Khaled Dep PM, Defence
* Anas Al-Saleh Finance
* Ali Al-Omair Oil, Assembly Affairs
* Ahmad Al-Mulaifi Education
* Abdulmohsen Al-Mudej Commerce
* Nayef Al-Ajmi Awqaf, Justice
* Yasser Abul Housing
* Sheikh Mohammad Cabinet Affairs
* Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim Electricity, Public Works
* Hind Al-Sabeeh Labour, Planning
* Sheikh Salman Info, Youth Affairs
* Essa Al-Kandari Comm, Municipality
* Ali Al-Obaidi Health