Delay in forming new Cabinet could postpone parliament sessions

‘Candidates reject portfolios in a Cabinet that will last less than a year’

KUWAIT: Consultations currently being held by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah to form his first Cabinet have come across some obstacles when some nominees declined, which makes it hard to announce the new Cabinet formation this month, informed sources said, noting that this will cause parliamentary sessions to be deferred till the end of next month.
The sources added that the parliament had been preparing to hold a session on Tuesday, December 2, but the delay in forming the Cabinet means delaying that session probably till Dec 24. “There is already a constitutional controversy concerning holding a parliamentary session attended by a caretaker government,” the sources underlined.

Likely candidates
Further, the sources said Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled’s initial consultations have so far settled on appointing Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali as foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Nawaf as defense minister and Sheikh Tamer Al-Ali as interior minister. “However, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Nawaf has turned down the offer and preferred to remain in his current position as deputy chief of joint staffs; thus, Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali will likely be appointed defense minister and the current Assistant Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad is the most likely candidate to be appointed foreign minister,” the sources said, noting that nothing is so far final concerning other portfolios because many of the nominees rejected portfolios in a Cabinet that will only last less than a year.
The sources added that Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled invited several lawmakers to join his technocrat Cabinet but all rejected the proposal except MP Rakan Al-Nisf, who demanded to know the final formation before he gives his final word. In addition, the sources explained that in case of further apologies from nominees, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled might retain some of the current ministers such as Awqaf Minister Fahd Al-Shulah, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh and Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan, who will most probably be appointed finance minister.

Issues delayed
In the meantime, well-informed parliamentary sources said the issues the parliament had promised to place on its agenda such as Kuwait’s demography, taxing expat remittances, increasing the number of citizens in the private sector and setting quotas per community in Kuwait are no longer relevant after the government’s resignation. The sources added that the abovementioned issues need decisive decisions after relevant ministers conduct full studies. “The Cabinet resignation means that new ministers will take over, and as usual, start their studies from square one before they respond to parliamentary committees’ inquiries,” the sources stressed, adding that the current parliament is expected to meet by mid-December when ministers will hopefully be sworn in.

Citizenship forgery
In other news, the criminal court yesterday sentenced three Saudis to 10 years with labor for forging Kuwaiti citizenships. The sentence also ordered their dismissal, mandating them to return the salaries they had unlawfully received and fined them twice as much. Separately, the court of appeals yesterday upheld the first instance verdict of sentencing a blogger to four years in prison with labor for violating the electronic crimes law by using several fake accounts on social media to commit violations including blasphemy.

By A Saleh

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