ABU DHABI Aug 4 A veteran former central bank
governor was appointed Kuwait's finance minister on Sunday,
state news agency KUNA said, after a parliamentary election in
the major crude producer last month.
A reshuffled cabinet unveiled by the news agency also
included a new oil minister, Mustapha al-Shamali, who was
finance minister in the outgoing cabinet.
Oil policy in the OPEC member state is set by a Supreme Oil
Council, so ministerial changes in that portfoilio are less
important than in other countries.
The finance ministry will now be headed by Sheikh Salem
Abdulaziz al-Sabah. Early last year Sheikh Salem resigned as
central bank governor after 25 years in the post, complaining
about a rapid rise in government spending. This suggests he
could be something of a budget hawk in his new post.
However, with Kuwait still posting large budget surpluses,
he is not expected to cut overall spending back, merely slow its
growth moderately. In any case the new parliament, seen as
willing to cooperate with the cabinet, is expected to give
increased priority to long-delayed development projects to spur
The oil position was previously held on an acting basis by
al-Shamali, after his predecessor, Hani Hussein, resigned in May
under pressure from parliament.
The new cabinet was sworn in on Sunday before the emir,
Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, KUNA reported. It
includes six members of the royal family and one member of
Previous governments included on average four members of
ruling al-Sabah family and up to six members of parliament.
Mohamed Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah will serve as interior
minister, a decree by the emir said.
The July 27 parliamentary election brought in an assembly
seen as more amenable to the government than some of its
predecessors, raising hopes that economic development projects
will move forward in the Gulf Arab state.
Kuwait's ruler reappointed Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah
as prime minister after the election and asked him to form a new
Kuwait has the most open political system in the Gulf Arab
region, but parliaments have been repeatedly dissolved over
procedural disputes or for challenging the government.