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List of ministers ‘almost ready’

18KUWAIT: Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah met MPs Thursday as part of discussions that precedes selection of members of his cabinet that is set to swear in in front of the Amir on Monday before attending the parliament's inaugural session the following day.

On that regard, sources familiar with the meetings said that the premier made it clear that he "will not fall under pressure" regarding certain names to be excluded from or included in the cabinet's formation. And while adding that the new formation is "almost ready", the sources indicated that the cabinet is likely to be announced tonight featuring five changes. The sources spoke to Al-Qabas on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about discussions regarding the cabinet's formation without permission.

So far, Defense Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah has heavily been discussed to be leaving the cabinet along with Health Minister Mohammad Al-Haifi "for whom the prime minister is already looking for a successor" according to the sources. Meanwhile, Al-Qabas reported yesterday that former minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah has turned down an invitation to take over the finance ministry in place of deputy premier Mustafa Al-Shamali; who according to an Al-Rai report is likely to be retained only as the oil minister.

In the meantime, HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak could also face a dilemma finding a replacement for Minister of Justice, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Sharida Al-Maousharji who could not be returning to the cabinet according to reports. On that regard, government sources said that the 'Awqaf' minister's post has always been sought by Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood politicians in Kuwait given the large financial assets it operates. The sources who preferred to keep their identity anonymous said that the position garner much importance now in light of the current development in Egypt and the financial support that the Muslim Brotherhood there requests.

Meanwhile, Al-Rai quoted government sources who reiterated that the cabinet formation is almost ready as the premier is currently mulling ruling family members to appoint at the interior and defense ministers' posts. Regarding the elected minister, the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the post is likely going to be offered to MPs Essa Al-Kandari or former minister Dr. Maasouma Al-Mubarak. Al-Jarida reported in the meantime that MP Sultan Al-Shemmary refused an offer to join the cabinet, preferring work at the parliament where he is set to debut on Tuesday.

In other news, lawyer Mubarak Al-Mutawa announced plans to challenge the elections results in the near future, claiming to possess evidence for "vote buying operations." Fifth constituency candidate Abdullah Al-Ajmi and fourth constituency candidate Faraz Al-Mutairi also announced plans to challenge the results on claims of mistakes in vote counting.

Separately, Al-Qabas reported yesterday that activists Sarah Al-Darees and Dr. Rashid Al-Hajri surrendered to police Wednesday night after HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah officially pardoned offenders convicted for offending him. The two were sentenced to 20 months in jail for remarks posted on Twitter. Al-Darees was referred to the women's jail facility and Al-Hajri was taken to the Central Jail pending further procedures prior to their release.

Al-Jarida reported meanwhile that the relevant prosecution departments are expected to send a list to the Amiri Dewan tomorrow (Sunday) containing names of 8 convicts in cases of offending the Amir, and to be included in the pardon. The list includes in addition to Al-Darees and Al-Hajri: Saqr Al-Hashah, Rashid Al-Enizy, Hamad Saad, Badr Al-Rashidi, Orons Al-Rashidi, and Mohammad Al-Ajmi. The list is expected to be approved by the cabinet on Monday in order for the pardoned to be released before the Eid Al-Fitr holiday which expectedly falls on Thursday.



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This article was published on 02/08/2013