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The seventh Kuwait government to be formed by Sheikh Nasser has taken office. Several lawmakers walked out from the parliamentary session in protest against the new government, and the prime minister's seventh since 2006.

 

Immediately afterwards, two Kuwaiti lawmakers submitted a request to question the prime minister, signalling a fresh challenge for the new government on its first encounter with the parliament, as expected by Political Capital. Ahmad al-Sadoun, leader of the opposition Popular Action bloc, and liberal lawmaker Abdulrahman al-Anjari, submitted a request to question the prime minister in parliament over issues including the country's four-year 30 billion dinar (US $109 billion) development plan.

 

Despite naming a new oil minister, the government did not include any changes to offices of state including interior, defence, foreign affairs and finance. The previous cabinet quit in March to avoid the questioning of three ministers who are all members of the ruling Al Sabah family.

 

May 10, 2011

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


 

The new cabinet, retaining most of the former one, was prone to a hostile reception by parliament. The political situation in Kuwait has become exceedingly tense due to both local and regional reasons, including the Bahrain crisis. The return of almost all the previous cabinet in the new government is seen as a means to delay the inevitable: a more radical government or dissolution of parliament. The seventh government of Sheikh Nasser in less than five years may have the shortest life, unless the Emir dissolves parliament. Dissolving parliament at this critical time facing Kuwait and region, may lead to an inflammation of the already tense political situation. The Emir may not even call for an election and wait several months. If this happens, there is an increased risk of civil unrest.

 

The other option that the Emir may chose is to reform the cabinet, giving key portfolios, such as foreign, defense and interior ministries to non-members of the ruling family. He will unlikely do this as this would create rifts within the ruling family itself, and inflame an already difficult status quo.

 

Either option, Kuwait faces a complicated political situation, which coming at this difficult regional time, threatens to spill into civil unrest.

 

The economic implications of either are that Kuwait’s economic development plans face further delays, thereby having negative repurcussions on growth.