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Sun 28 Oct 2007 03:19 PM

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MPs oppose oil minister's appointment

Kuwaiti Finance Minister Al-Humaidhi given oil portfolio, but lawmakers question prior record.

Kuwait's Finance Minister Bader Al-Humaidhi was named as the Gulf Arab state's new oil minister in a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle announced on Sunday, but some deputies say they might oppose his appointment.

The reshuffle retained Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah to lead the government and named Mustafa Al-Shimali, a former Finance Ministry official, as the new finance minister, state television said.

Newspapers had predicted that Al-Humaidhi would be appointed to take over the key oil portfolio, which has been vacant since Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah quit in June to avert a non-confidence vote in parliament.

The oil post is one of three vacant portfolios the major Opec producer needs to fill, but Musallam Al-Barrak, a member of the Popular Bloc in Kuwait's parliament, told reporters late on Saturday that some deputies would oppose Al-Humaidhi's appointment as he was already under fire for what they saw as his failures as finance minister.

Islamist MP Dhaifallah Buramia submitted a request to question Al-Humaidhi last week after a newspaper suggested he had made administrative and financial mistakes.

Kuwait's government has been locked in a standoff with parliament, where key reform plans such as a bill to cut taxes for foreign firms or the exploration of the northern oil fields have been delayed.

It has been only a few months since the latest cabinet reshuffle.

As political parties are banned in Kuwait, there is often a lack of coordination among deputies who flood the floor with motions and sometimes pursue personal agendas.

Kuwait's ruler, Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who has the last say in politics, has repeatedly urged deputies and the government to work together.

Analysts say he was on the brink earlier this year of dissolving parliament due to the deadlock.

The house is due to convene on October 30 after a summer break. - Reuters

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