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Kuwait forms new govt after disputes with parliament

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah (pictured March 2019), who was re-appointed as Kuwait's prime minister in January 2021, shortly after the government quit, was tasked with forming the new one. ©AFP

Kuwait City (AFP) - Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah greenlighted Wednesday the Gulf country's new cabinet after the previous one resigned just a month into its mandate amid disputes with parliament.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, who was re-appointed as prime minister in January, shortly after the government quit, was again tasked with forming the new one. 

The cabinet members were sworn in before the emir on Wednesday, reported the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). 

There are "big responsibilities during this important phase, and I know you are capable of confronting it and on working together as a team towards reform and development", said Sheikh Nawaf, cited by KUNA.

This marks the third government that Sheikh Sabah will form since his appointment as prime minister in December 2019.

The last government called it quits in mid-January, just a month after it was formed.

Its ministers tendered their resignation "in light of current developments regarding the relations between the National Assembly and the government", KUNA reported at the time, without elaborating.  

This came as 38 members of parliament backed a request to question the prime minister, who they accuse of violating the constitution when forming the last government in December and of failing to present a cabinet work programme.

Kuwait has been shaken by political disputes between lawmakers and the ruling family-led government for over a decade, with parliament and cabinets dissolved several times. 

Kuwait is the only Gulf state with a fully elected parliament, which enjoys wide legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office. 

Like most Gulf countries, Kuwait's economy and state budgets have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the low price of oil. 

In December elections, the opposition or allied candidates won nearly half of parliament's 50 seats in elections.

The polls were the first since the new emir, Sheikh Nawaf, took office in September following the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Sabah, at the age of 91.

Kuwaitis have in recent years expressed their desire for reform in their country, where 70 percent of the 4.8 million population are foreigners.

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