Kuwait has re-appointed Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah as Prime Minister, following the resignation of the previous government over renewed friction with the parliament. Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who has taken over most of the ruling Emir’s duties, asked Sheikh Ahmad to nominate a new cabinet.
The move is not expected to end the long-standing standoff between the government and the elected parliament, which has hampered efforts to push through fiscal reforms and reduce the country’s reliance on oil revenues.
End to political turmoil?
Kuwait is a wealthy Gulf Arab oil-producing country that has a history of political bickering and institutional gridlock, which have led to a lack of investment and reforms aimed at reducing its dependence on oil revenues.
The country’s legislature has more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies, despite the fact that political parties are banned. The government’s resignation in January was triggered by lawmakers’ pressure to pass a debt relief bill that would allow the state to purchase Kuwaiti citizens’ personal loans.
Additionally, the parliament sought to question two ministers, which led to the government’s resignation. The government had been sworn in just a few months earlier, following early polls in which opposition members made gains.
Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah’s move to end the feud between the government and the parliament by appointing Sheikh Ahmad as the premier last year did not succeed, as tensions resurfaced over the debt relief bill. The bill is seen as a critical part of Kuwait’s fiscal reforms aimed at tapping international markets to reduce its reliance on oil revenues.
The country has strong fiscal and external balance sheets, but its heavy reliance on oil revenues and political instability have hindered its efforts to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment.
Kuwait’s reporting style on political developments tends to be objective and factual. State news agency KUNA is the main source of news and information in the country, and it typically reports on government actions and statements. The media is not entirely free, as the government has the power to restrict the press’s freedom and has banned some publications in the past. However, Kuwait’s media environment is relatively more open than in some other Gulf countries, and there is a lively social media scene.
Kuwait’s re-appointment of Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah as Prime Minister is unlikely to bring about significant changes in the country’s political landscape. However, it is hoped that the government will be able to work more effectively with the parliament to push through much-needed fiscal reforms aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil revenues.
Kuwait’s reporting style on political developments tends to be objective and factual, with the state news agency KUNA being the main source of news and information.