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Kuwaiti MPs divided over merit of new government

Views range from open optimism to bitter disappointment

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 12:02 August 5, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Kuwaiti lawmakers seemed divided over the merit of the new government, with views ranging from opportunities for a new kind of politics to concerns it would not have a real impact on the country’s major issues.

The government, sworn in on Sunday, is a mixture of old and new faces and includes two women. “The cabinet has ministers who are well known for their competence and expertise,”said  MP Hamad Saif.

“I am optimistic and I look forward to close cooperation between the parliament and the government as we need to achieve concrete results on the ground so that citizens can feel the change,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Watan.

Political stability is crucial for the future of Kuwait and all parties should work together to ensure there is no tension, he said. For MP Sa’ad Al Khanfoor, the experience factor in the government was highly important.

“Many of the ministers have held ministerial portfolios and this means that they have the necessary experience to manage their ministries,” he said. “Those who have expressed scepticism should appreciate that many people do not want to take up such a position in the current circumstances and accumulation of problems.”

MP Mohammad Al Jabri said that he was not overtly optimistic, but insisted that he would extend a “helping hand” to the government for the sake of the country. “What we care about is the performance and not the names of ministers,” he said. “What we want is to secure further achievements for the country and we hope that this government does have a vision and a clear, well-defined action plan. We will of course monitor the performance of every minister and we will assess the overall government work,” he said.

However, MP Faisal Al Duwaisan said that he was puzzled by the new formation. “It seems that we have to face once more the same mindset that has not changed and has not learned its lessons from the past,” he told Al Watan. “The people of Kuwait have sent a clear message through the composition of the new parliament. There are very critical issues that the government has to face promptly and we need genuine action that will reflect readiness to address them.”

The parliament would leap into action and use its constitutional rights if the government did not move to solve pending issues, he said. “We will not be complacent when the future of Kuwait is at stake. We will be demanding with everyone,” he said.

For MP Saadoon Al Hammad, the composition of the cabinet did not match the newly elected parliament. “The new legislative house is basically geared towards accomplishments and developments,” he said. “However, the new government seemed to be a repeat of past cabinets. We do have hope that the ministers will have positive attitudes so that we do not have to quiz them,” he said.

MP Masooma Al Mubarak, one of the two women who won seats in the July elections, said that the new formation “did not take into consideration the remarks made by lawmakers on the performance of some ministers who were re-appointed”.

“This formation gives us the impression that we have a temporary government, and not a cabinet keen on developing the country,” said Masooma who was among the four women who made history in 2009 when they became the first women to be elected to the parliament in Kuwait.

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