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Kuwait’s Emir issues decree forming new government

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Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah has issued a decree for the formation of a new government, according to Kuwait’s state news agency.

The current government had been acting in a caretaker capacity since resigning in January in a standoff with parliament.

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The new Cabinet saw the reappointment of Oil Minister Mohammad Abdulatif al-Fares, Finance Minister Khalifa Hamade and Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah.

The previous government’s resignation came after more than 30 members of parliament in the 50-seat assembly supported a motion to question Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah on various issues, including his choice of ministers.

Kuwait has the most vibrant political system among Gulf Arab states, with a parliament able to pass, and block, legislation and question ministers. Senior government posts are occupied by members of Kuwait’s ruling family.

Kuwaiti opposition figures made gains in last year’s parliamentary polls. Some have proposed electoral reforms and a pardon for dissidents, many in self-exile, to the new emir.

In his decree on Tuesday, Kuwait’s Emir also established two new portfolios to join the government: a Ministry of State for Promoting Integrity Affairs and a Ministry of State for Communications and Information Technology.

“The next stage requires concerted and unified efforts to focus on combating administrative and financial corruption, whether in the government apparatus or outside of it, and to support the regulatory agencies to carry out their work to the fullest and complete independence,” Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Nawaf said in a statement.

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf issued a decree last month suspending parliament’s sessions for one month as of Feb. 18.

The emir, facing his first big political challenge since assuming power in September, had reappointed Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah to nominate a new cabinet.

(With inputs from AFP)

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