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Premier on mission to select team of competent ministers
August 1, 2013, 12:33 am
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KUWAIT: With the Cabinet’s formation set to be officially announced Sunday, speculations remain regarding ruling family members expected to be retained, returned or appointed for the first time. Several reports since Sunday suggest that Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah has already made up his mind not to return to the Cabinet, with the candidates to replace him being his brother Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, or Army Chief of Staff Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah. Meanwhile, Al-Qabas reported yesterday that there is increased talk about a looming exit of First Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah who faces strong criticism from multiple lawmakers.
 
There have already been many speculations that time constrains are going to force Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to introduce little change to the ministers’ lineup compared to the outgoing Cabinet. However, sources quoted in Al-Qabas’ report indicate that the premier seems determined to put together a Cabinet “capable to address work, confrontation and achievement responsibilities”, giving room for speculation that the change is going to be more than just ‘limited’. These speculations are further fueled by MPs’ announced reactions to the possible retaining of certain ministers including Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali, Health Minister Dr. Mohammad Al-Haifi and Planning Minister Dr Rola Dashti.
 
Meanwhile, Al-Anbaa reported yesterday that the name of former minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd Al-Sabah was mentioned as a possible returnee, something that if happens will not go down well with some of the returning liberal MPs in the parliament – namely MP Marzouq Al-Ghanem. The same daily also mentioned Sheikh Faisal Al-Malik Al-Sabah as a possible candidate for the Assembly Affairs Ministry, and quoted sources who listed MPs Essa Al-Kandari, Faisal Al-Kandari, Faisal Al-Shaya, Khalil Al-Saleh, Mohammad Al-Adwani and Mubarak Al-Hurais as the most likely to be included in the Cabinet as the constitution stipulates.
 
MP and former minister Maasouma Al-Mubarak told Al-Rai Tuesday that she would only consider a minister’s post if she was given “full authorities to work” in her new post. “We are seeing obstacles everywhere,” she said. “The government deliberately stops laws passed by the annulled parliament by failing to publish them in the official gazette, while distorts others through executive regulations which if anything reflects the government’s negligence,” she slammed. And while hoping to see a new ‘technocrat’ Cabinet, she said that a decision to accept a minister’s post would only come “for the benefit of Kuwait and pushing development through positive participation in the government”.
 
In other news, Al-Rai quoted parliamentary sources who indicated that at least ten lawmakers are working on forming a bloc that adopts the opposition’s demands – either fully or partially. Oppositionists had boycotted last Saturday’s elections for the second time after last December’s polls in protest against an emergency decree that amended the voting system in the electoral law. A constitutional court ruling in June that upheld the law did not convince oppositionists to return but tribal and liberal groups did so. The opposition’s announced goals include achieving ‘political reform’ through amendments that introduce political parties and an elected Cabinet.
 
According to the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the new bloc would act as a ‘gateway’ for negotiation with the Cabinet under its supervision. “Coordination is already in place between oppositionist figures and three MPs who support their visions,” one source said. The step comes amid calls for calm and possible negotiation with the new Cabinet on a settlement that could be in the form of amending the voting mechanism in the electoral law from a single vote to two votes per voter, which could open the door for the opposition to return to the parliament where they can submit their political reform proposals.
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