Kuwait's new emir sworn in; Cabinet submits resignation

In his inaugural speech, Sheikh Mishal slammed Kuwaiti authorities and the decision to appoint people to positions 'that are not consistent with the simplest rules of justice and fairness'

By Agencies

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Wed 20 Dec 2023, 3:18 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Dec 2023, 3:19 PM

Kuwait's new emir, Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmad Al Sabah, criticised lawmakers and executive authorities on Wednesday for what he said was 'harm to the interests of the country and the people' in his first remarks after he was formally sworn in.

After taking the constitutional oath in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Sheikh Mishal slammed the authorities' decision to appoint people to positions "that are not consistent with the simplest rules of justice and fairness".

He also objected to the pardoning of several convicts and opposition figures, and the damaging of the Kuwaiti identity.

The emir said it was "necessary to review our current reality, especially in terms of security, the economy and living conditions".

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Soon after he was sworn in, Kuwait's Cabinet submitted its resignation, state news agency Kuna reported. Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the late emir's son, handed the resignation to Sheikh Mishal, it added.

During his inaugural speech, Sheikh Mishal stressed "the importance of follow-up, responsible oversight, and objective accountability within the framework of the constitution and the law for negligence, dereliction and tampering with the interests of citizens."

Kuwait will maintain its Gulf, regional and international commitments, Sheikh Mishal said.

Sheikh Mishal, 83, was Kuwait's day-to-day ruler during much of his half-brother Sheikh Nawaf's reign due to his ill-health. His predecessor died on Saturday.

'Unprecedented rebuke of parliament'

Bader Al Saif, a professor at Kuwait University, described Sheikh Mishal's address as "one of the strongest first speeches given by an incoming ruler".

"Most significant and unprecedented is the emir's clear rebuke of government and parliament," he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Sheikh Mishal spent many years in the interior ministry and was deputy chief of the Kuwait National Guard from 2004 to 2020.

His first major test as emir will be selecting a crown prince amid speculation over whether he will usher in a new generation of rulers.

He will have a year to make his pick, but much attention will be on whether he will be able to match the seven-day record set by his predecessor.

The new emir will also have to select a prime minister to form a new cabinet in a move that will set the tone for relations with the opposition-led parliament, hailed as the most active in the Gulf.

(Inputs from AFP, Reuters)

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