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Tue 19 May 2009 11:20 PM

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Kuwait PM likely to be reappointed - sources

Kuwait's ruler set to ask nephew to form new cabinet, say government sources.

Kuwait's ruler is likely to reappoint Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah and ask him to form a new cabinet after parliament elections, two government sources said on Tuesday.The cabinet resigned in March to prevent parliament from questioning Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir, during a protracted stand-off between a cabinet dominated by the ruling family and the popularly elected assembly.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah called fresh elections after dissolving the assembly two months ago.

A decree by the Emir reappointing Sheikh Nasser is expected on Wednesday, a government source told Reuters. Another source close to the government said the same thing.

Women won four seats in Saturday's poll, a first in the Gulf Arab state's history and a blow to Sunni Islamists who lost half their seats mainly to Shi'ite Muslim and liberal candidates.

Emir Sheikh Sabah met with former parliament speakers on Monday for traditional consultations on the formation of the new government, state news agency KUNA said.

The prime minister must form the new cabinet before May 31, the date by which the new assembly is to convene.

Investors are hoping for new faces in a strong cabinet that can work with parliament to enact economic reforms aimed at encouraging foreign investment.

Some lawmakers, who have in the past wanted to question Sheikh Nasser, a senior member of the ruling family, have made it back to the new assembly. They could renew demands to question him or pile pressure on his cabinet, analysts said.

But the slight shift in parliament towards more Shi'ite and liberal representation could mean that Sunni Islamists are not as well placed to pressure ministers as they were before.

The prime minister has always been a member of the ruling Sabah family. Key portfolios such as defence, interior and foreign affairs are also held by members of the ruling family.

Some local dailies said on Tuesday the new cabinet would see several changes, while al-Rai newspaper said three women would be in the new government.

Political sources expected no change at the oil ministry, which was headed by Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, a member of the ruling family, in the outgoing cabinet.

Frequent cabinet changes usually do not affect the oil policies of OPEC-member Kuwait, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, which are set by a high state energy council. (Reuters)

KUWAIT GUY 10 years ago

I was extemely proud to heat on the BBC that 4 AMERICAN EDUCATED Kuwaitis women were now MPs. Next election the women will be a majority and then what ?