Kuwait’s Ruler Names Former Foreign Minister as Crown Prince

(Bloomberg) -- Kuwait’s ruler named Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah as the Gulf state’s new crown prince, opting for a long-serving diplomat to help steer the OPEC member state.

Most Read from Bloomberg

Emir Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, who became ruler in December, issued the decree on Saturday, state media reported. Sheikh Sabah, 71, has previously served as foreign minister and prime minister, and his selection maintains the traditional line of succession.

Kuwait’s Ruler Suspends Parliament to End Political Deadlock

Sheikh Sabah, who’s long-steered Kuwait’s careful foreign policy and is a veteran in diplomatic circles, is seen as popular within the ruling Al-Sabah family. He maintains good connections with Kuwait’s cultural elite and his appointment could bring stability in the country’s internal affairs after a period of upheaval.

A distant cousin of the emir, the new heir apparent is the first crown prince not to be from either the Al-Jaber or Al-Salem branches of the ruling family since Mubarak Al-Kabeer established modern Kuwait in 1897. From the Al-Hamad branch of the family, Sheikh Sabah is also a descendant of Mubarak Al-Kabeer.

Once chosen by the ruling emir, the crown prince would normally need the endorsement of a simple majority of parliament, but the elected National Assembly was suspended last month amid political deadlock.

Kuwait Has a New Ruler Who Now Must Fix Its Old Problems

Traditionally, Kuwaiti crown princes are chosen based on extensive experience in government posts. They must also be descendants of Mubarak Al-Kabeer, who died in 1915. Sheikh Sabah served as prime minister between November 2019 and July 2022 after serving as foreign minister for eight years.

During that period Kuwait has been roiled by repeated tussles between the government and the Gulf’s sole elected parliament with any real power. The clashes had delayed critical fiscal proposals, including a draft bill allowing the government to borrow overseas.

(Updates throughout with context)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.