A new Kuwaiti cabinet has been appointed, headed by the former prime-minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah. This is the eighth Kuwaiti government to be formed in the past six years, with all the previous ones resigning after clashes with parliament, that was also dissolved on as many occasions.


The new 14-member cabinet had one new face, former MP Rola Dashti, who takes over as planning and development minister. Hani Hussein was reappointed as oil minister and Nayef al-Hajraf was appointed finance minister, after serving as acting finance minister when his predecessor resigned amid allegations of financial irregularities. Hajraf will also serve as education minister. Members of the ruling family continue to hold key cabinet posts.


The new cabinet should be sworn in before the reinstated parliament, which was reinstated in the unprecedented constitutional court decision.


According to the Kuwaiti constitution, the cabinet will have to resign after the parliamentary election and a new cabinet will be formed.


July 19, 2012



Analysis and Forecast: Decreasing Risk


The political situation in Kuwait has escalated to unprecedented levels during the past month. With the legal decision to cancel the parliamentary elections and reinstate the former, pro-government parliament, opposition to this move will likely lead to the Emir dissolving parliament altogether.


The new government therefore is seen as an interim government, that will resign soon after the elections as required by the constitution. In addition, the summer months and Holy month of Ramadan are quite periods in Kuwaiti politics.


The main immediate political obstacle is the swearing in of the new cabinet. It will swear in before the reinstated parliament, but the majority of its members are boycotting it in opposition to the court ruling. There are therefore both political and constitutional challenges that the Kuwaiti government immediately faces.


The anticipation of new elections and the seasonal recess combine to temporarily reduce the overall political risk in the short term, from its previously elevated state, despite potential disagreement about electoral constituency boundaries. Bearing in mind that there is a risk arising from constitutional technicalities, but those may not manifest themselves if new elections are called. However, the longer term risk remains high as core issues, including the highly contentious one of royals serving in the cabinet, remain unresolved.