Written by Ahmad Haghali
KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah has named a new finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle, retaining another key role, state news agency KUNA reported.
In March, the crown prince reinstated Sheikh Ahmad as prime minister, just a month after the government resigned in response to a dispute with the opposition-controlled parliament.
From the key portfolio, Manaf Abdulaziz Al-Hajri became Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Economy and Investment, while current Oil Minister Bader Al-Mullah remains in office.
"The biggest challenge for the government is to regain the people's trust," said Ahmad al-Din (left), a member of the political bureau of the Progressive Movement of Kuwait.
"The removal of Abd al-Wahhab al Rashid (former finance minister), who was an element of tension with the 2022 parliament, shows that the current government is committed to bringing back the 2022 parliament," he added.
Kuwait has some of the world's largest oil reserves and a strong fiscal and external balance, but political infighting and institutional gridlock have hindered investment and reforms aimed at reducing the country's dependence on oil revenues.
The relationship between the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly elected in 2020 was particularly strained after the Constitutional Court annulled the results of the elections held in March last September.
Finance Minister Al Hajri was the CEO of the Financial Center for Asset Management and Banking in Kuwait for 16 years before resigning in 2020 and is well-known in Kuwaiti business and financial circles.
Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Sabah was reappointed as Acting Minister of Interior and Defense, while Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah remained Minister of Foreign Affairs.
(Reporting by Ahmed Haggala and Hatem Maher; Writing by Rachna Uppal; Editing by Barbara Lewis)