Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled sworn in - MPs call for strong Cabinet, reforms

KUWAIT: Newly-appointed Prime Minister HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah is received by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at Dar Salwa yesterday. – KUNA

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah praised newly-appointed Prime Minister HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah yesterday and urged him to crack down on corruption. "We have given you responsibility…a big responsibility…fight corruption and the corrupt… inshallah. My Allah the Almighty help you for the best interests of the nation and people," the Amir told the premier after he was sworn in at Dar Salwa. The prime minister thanked HH the Amir for his trust in assigning him this post. "I pledge to you to do all I can to continue the blessed march under the leadership of Your Highness," he said.

HH the Amir had earlier yesterday appointed long-serving foreign minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled as the new prime minister and asked him to form the next Cabinet. An Amiri order was also issued to allocate the title of His Highness to the newly-assigned PM. HH Sheikh Sabah's appointment came a day after former prime minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah declined to form the new Cabinet, saying he intended to clear his name from graft allegations.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled is expected to start consultations to pick his ministerial team immediately. The new premier is the third PM in the country since 2006, when HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah was appointed prime minister but resigned over five years later following protests. The Cabinet resigned a week ago after MPs filed no-confidence motions against two ministers following lengthy grillings over allegations of mismanagement.

The resignation was followed by a rare clash between the former defense and interior ministers over allegations of graft. The two ministers were later removed by the Amir. There is no timeframe for the new prime minister to announce his Cabinet, which will be the eighth since late 2011. Naming Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled as the new premier means that there are no indications for dissolving the National Assembly, which is expected to complete its four-year term before general elections in Nov 2020.

MPs welcomed the premier's appointment and called for forming a strong government with a clear reform program. MP Khaled Al-Otaibi said the new premier should adopt a new course aimed at improving the economic and social situations of the Kuwaiti people. He said the new premier should work toward achieving national reconciliation by approving a general amnesty for politicians and activists who are very dedicated to the country. MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said the new premier should present a comprehensive reform program and fulfill the aspirations of the Kuwaiti people.

By B Izzak and KUNA