Kuwait reappoints oil minister Hussein in cabinet

KUWAIT Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:52am IST

Kuwait's Oil Minister Hani Hussein attends a session of the OPEC International Seminar in Vienna, June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/Files

Kuwait's Oil Minister Hani Hussein attends a session of the OPEC International Seminar in Vienna, June 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader/Files

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KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait's prime minister reappointed Oil Minister Hani Hussein in his new cabinet and brought back veteran policymaker Mustapha al-Shamali as finance minister, state news agency KUNA reported on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, who was reappointed by the emir last week, had been expected to select the new cabinet after a parliamentary election on December 1.

The new 15-member government, which was approved by ruling emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, faces the task of implementing investment plans and economic reforms after years of political turmoil in the Gulf Arab state.

Kuwait, a U.S. ally and OPEC oil producer, has held five parliamentary elections since mid-2006 and has appointed more than 10 governments.

Analysts say the new parliament could prove more government-friendly than its predecessor which was dominated by opposition MPs. The assembly holds its first session next Sunday.

There were few changes in the top cabinet posts, which are traditionally held by ruling family members. Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmed al-Hamoud al-Sabah held onto his portfolio as did Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah.

Shamali makes his return to the cabinet after being forced to step down in May due to pressure from opposition MPs who accused him of mismanagement, accusations the long-serving official denied. Nayef al-Hajraf, reappointed as Education Minister, had also held the finance ministry portfolio in the interim.

Shamali served as finance minister from 2007 and had worked for more than four decades in the ministry before stepping down earlier this year.

Hussein, who has been oil minister since February, is a former chief executive at Kuwait's Petroleum Corporation and was seen as having inside knowledge of the industry. His influence is limited, however, as oil policy is set by an oil council.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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