December 14, 2020
DUBAI (Reuters) – Kuwait’s emir on Monday approved the formation of a new cabinet that included new ministers of oil and finance for the OPEC member state, the government communications office said, following a parliamentary election this month.
Mohammad Abdulatif al-Fares was named oil, electricity and water minister, replacing Khaled al-Fadhel, it said in a Twitter post. Khalifa Hamade became finance minister, replacing Barak al-Shitan.
Kuwait’s oil policy, which is set by a supreme petroleum council, and foreign policy, which is steered by the emir, are unlikely to change under the new government.
The previous cabinet had resigned following the election in which opposition candidates made gains and around two thirds of lawmakers lost their seats.
The U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state is facing its worst economic crisis in decades due to low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kuwait’s economy, which is worth nearly $140 billion, is facing a deficit of $46 billion this year. A priority of the new government will be to pass a bill allowing Kuwait to tap international debt markets.
Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who took the reins in September following the death of his brother, has reappointed Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah as prime minister.
Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah also kept his post in the new cabinet. Hamad Jaber al-Ali al-Sabah was named defence minister, replacing Ahmad Mansour al-Sabah.
(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous and Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Raya Jalabi and Gareth Jones)
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