Sheikh Mohammed Al Sabah named prime minister of Kuwait

Harvard-educated Sheikh Mohammed was Kuwait's ambassador to US for 10 years and then served as foreign minister until stepping down in 2011

By AFP

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Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah. — AFP file
Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah. — AFP file

Published: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 7:15 PM

Last updated: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 7:17 PM

Kuwait's new emir announced his prime minister on Thursday as he bids to end the chronic political stalemate afflicting the major oil-producing Gulf nation.

Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmed Al Sabah, who was sworn in as emir last month, named Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, a popular ex-foreign minister, as the new premier.

The Harvard-educated Sheikh Mohammed, also son of a former emir, was Kuwait's ambassador to the United States for 10 years and then served as foreign minister until stepping down in 2011.

"His (Sheikh Mohammed's) anti-corruption stance at a delicate time in Kuwait's history back in 2011 earned him the high respect of Kuwaitis," Badr Al Saif, a Kuwait University political analyst, told AFP.

Kuwait has seven percent of the world's crude reserves, little debt and one of the world's strongest sovereign wealth funds in the world. It adopted a relatively robust parliamentary system in 1962.

But political deadlock between the elected parliamentarians and appointed ministers has blocked reforms to diversify the economy, while Kuwait has also suffered repeated budget deficits and low foreign investment.

At his swearing-in ceremony, the 83-year-old Emir Sheikh Meshal strongly criticised parliament and the cabinet, saying they had "harmed the interests of the people and the country".

According to Kuwaiti analyst Ayed Al Mannaa, the new prime minister — who is expected to appoint his cabinet later this month — has "the diplomatic experience and academic qualifications necessary to implement the reforms envisaged" by the emir.

"We need... a government made up of competent people and statesmen who are not scared of being questioned by the parliament," he told AFP.


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