KUWAIT (Reuters) — Kuwait’s ruler on Tuesday named Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah as prime minister, elevating him from his role as foreign minister, after a row between ruling family members and parliament prompted the last government to resign.
Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah initially tapped caretaker premier Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah to form a new cabinet but he rebuffed the offer on Monday, citing a media campaign against him.
The government resignation came after lawmakers sought a no-confidence vote against the interior minister and as a dispute between senior officials, including the interior and defense ministers, over alleged mishandling of public funds went public.
The state news agency KUNA said Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid, who has been Kuwait’s foreign minister since 2011, was sworn in in front of the emir hours later.
The oil policy of the OPEC producer, 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.
Corruption allegations led to public protests earlier this month outside parliament, for which elections are expected to be held next year.
The Kuwaiti prime minister traditionally helps navigate the often tense relationship between parliament and government. The emir has the final say in state matters.
In a televised address on Monday, the 90-year-old emir warned the media and public against discussing an issue that was being addressed by the judiciary, saying the state would safeguard public funds.
Power struggles between senior ruling family members have often played out in parliament. Cabinet resignations happen frequently when elected lawmakers are set to question or submit a no-confidence vote against senior government officials.
“Royal politics and parliamentary politics are intertwined, due to the power the parliament holds through the constitution to approve the appointment of the crown prince,” Diwan said.
Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy in Kuwait, Sylvia Westall and Dahlia Nehme in Dubai and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Mark Heinrich
Image: In this March 31, 2019 file photo, Kuwait’s ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, attends the opening of the 30th Arab Summit, in Tunis, Tunisia. Kuwait’s ruler has fired two warring Cabinet ministers at the center of embezzlement allegations and directed the prime minister to form a new government. Al Sabah issued the decree Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, just days after Kuwait’s Cabinet resigned amid another inquiry (Fethi Belaid/Pool Photo via AP, File)