Kuala Lumpur Post


Finance minister quits in latest Kuwait political turmoil

KUWAIT CITY — The finance minister of Kuwait, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, has resigned only three months after his appointment by the prime minister, state media said yesterday.

Manaf Al-Hajeri’ resignation comes against a backdrop of perpetual political turmoil in the only Gulf Arab state with a fully elected parliament.

The official KUNA news agency did not specify a reason for the resignation, and Al-Hajeri was not immediately available to comment.

“A decree was issued in Kuwait accepting the resignation of Minister of Finance,” the official Kuna news agency said.

He will be replaced by Saad Al-Barrak, who was named both oil minister and state minister for economic and investment affairs last month, KUNA said.

Al-Hajeri was appointed as finance minister and state minister for economic and investment affairs in April following a cabinet reshuffle, but he lost the latter post in the line-up announced in June.

According to local media reports, Al-Hajeri’s resignation stems from his objection to the transfer of the Kuwait Investment Authority to Al-Barrak after he took over as state minister for economic and investment affairs.

Despite its oil wealth, Kuwait’s decades of political instability, including seven general election cycles in just over a decade, have spooked investors and stymied economic reforms.

Kuwait’s fifth government in less than one year took the oath of office last month after elections returned an opposition-controlled parliament.

Four royals are among the 15-strong cabinet, which is appointed by the ruling Al-Sabah family and has a history of clashes with the national assembly.

Kuwait, which borders Saudi Arabia and Iraq, is home to seven per cent of the world’s crude reserves. It has little debt and one of the strongest sovereign wealth funds worldwide.

However, it suffers from constant stand-offs between elected lawmakers and cabinets installed by the ruling family, which maintains a strong grip over political life despite a parliamentary system in place since 1962. — AFP

Tags: , , ,