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Kuwait names government, top ministers keep jobs

Kuwait named a new government on Tuesday, changing the heads of only minor ministries, despite a deep political impasse in the OPEC nation that has led to delays and cancellations of key reforms and projects.

December 14, 2011 10:56 by

Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, named as prime minister by the emir of the US ally last month, kept his job as defence minister as well as taking over the ministry of the interior, Kuwait media said.

Oil minister Mohammad al-Busairi and finance minister Mustapha al-Shamali also held on to their posts, as did minister for foreign affairs Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah and trade minister Amani Bouresli.

The cabinet will oversee elections of a new parliament after emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved the assembly following the government’s resignation. The constitution says that the vote has to be held within 60 days of the dissolution.

Former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah and his government quit last month, bowing to escalating demands by protesters and opposition deputies that he step down over corruption allegations.

The country has long prided itself on having a fully elected parliament with lively debate – unique in a region ruled by autocrats who tolerate little dissent – but has suffered a long-running standoff between the government and parliament.

Tensions boiled over last month when opposition lawmakers and protesters stormed parliament demanding Sheikh Nasser’s resignation after a request by MPs to question him was blocked by the government and its backers in the assembly.

During the former prime minister’s five years in office, the cabinet was reshuffled seven times and the emir dissolved parliament three times. (Reporting by Mahmoud Harbi; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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