Kuwait City: Kuwait's new emir appointed Interior Minister Shaikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah as Crown Prince and Shaikh Nasser Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah as Prime Minister on Tuesday.

The appointments by His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah were made in two decrees. While Shaikh Sabah turned to his 68-year-old brother as successor, he directed Shaikh Nasser to form a new government. The latter has served as minister to the court of the late emir Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

"We have issued a decree nominating Shaikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah to assume the post of Crown Prince," Shaikh Sabah said in a decree read on state television.

Shaikh Nawaf has held the post of first deputy prime minister since 2003. The Crown Prince's appointment to become effective needs to be approved by a majority in the elected parliament.

Under the constitution, the new premier, a nephew of the Emir, has two weeks to form a government which must first be approved by the Emir and take the oath of office in parliament before assuming power.

The two men are from the Al Jaber branch of the Al Sabah ruling family, which by tradition has been alternating the leadership of the state with the Al Salem branch for the past 85 years.

The appointment follows a crisis of succession in Kuwait that saw ailing emir Shaikh Sa'ad Al Abdallah Al Sabah voted out of office after only nine days in power following the death of his predecessor on January 15.

Shaikh Sabah was later nominated as new ruler and was confirmed by parliament on January 29. He was sworn in the same day.

There was no immediate comment from members of the Al Salem branch on the appointments and whether they were approved by the family. Under the constitution, the Emir has the sole authority to appointing his crown prince and prime minister.

The Swiss-educated Shaikh Nasser, 65, began his career as a diplomat in 1964 until he was appointed undersecretary of the information ministry in 1979. In 1985, he was appointed information minister until 1988 when he was appointed minister of social affairs and labour.

In 1990, he was appointed state minister for foreign affairs to assist Shaikh Sabah himself who was the foreign minister.

Earlier this week, Shaikh Sabah held talks with three former parliament speakers and current speaker at the start of consultations for naming the prime minister. "These are part of traditional consultations," in accordance with the constitution, speaker Jassem Al Khorafi told reporters following the meeting.

Following are key facts about new Kuwaiti Crown Prince Shaikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who has had a career in the security and defence fields in the Gulf state.

  • Shaikh Nawaf is a brother of late emir Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah who died on January 15 at age 78 and of the new Emir His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, 77. He hails from the Al Jaber branch of the ruling 250-year-old Sabah dynasty.
  • Shaikh Nawaf was interior minister and first deputy prime minister since July 2003 and was most recently acting prime minister. In the past, he held the interior and defence portfolios.
  • Diplomats say Shaikh Nawaf is seen as an affable person and has a good working relationship with Shaikh Sabah.
  • Shaikh Nawaf is one of the key founders of the modern police force in the state and until his appointment on Tuesday was also the deputy chief of the Kuwaiti National Guard.
  • He has worked to build security cooperation with the rest of the Gulf states and other Arab countries.