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Kuwait swears in fifth government in a year

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Kuwait’s fifth government in less than one year took the oath of office on Monday after elections returned an opposition-controlled Parliament, setting the stage for further political turmoil in the oil-rich emirate.

Four royals are among the 15-strong Cabinet, which is appointed by the ruling Al-Sabah family and has a history of clashes with the Gulf’s only elected national assembly with powers to hold government to account.

Kuwait is one of the world’s biggest oil producers but decades of political instability, including seven general election cycles in just over a decade, have spooked investors and stymied economic reforms.

Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the son of Kuwait’s 85-year-old emir, is now presiding over his fifth Cabinet since he was appointed last August.

“Positive and constructive cooperation with Parliament and all members of society will be at the heart of the government’s work,” he told the swearing-in ceremony.

PHOTO: AFP

Saad Al-Barrak comes in as oil minister, and Public Works Minister Amani Bougammaz, the only woman in the Cabinet, is one of nine people to retain their positions.

Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the sports powerbroker and former International Olympic Committee member who in 2021 was convicted of forgery in a Swiss court, returns as defence minister and deputy prime minister.

This month’s legislative elections were held after the constitutional court had annulled the results of the previous polls held in September, also won by the opposition.

In the new Parliament, which to met for the first time yesterday, opposition figures including independents and the assembly’s lone woman hold 29 of the 50 seats.

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