Bloomberg News

Kuwaiti Opposition Lawmaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun Elected Speaker

February 15, 2012

(Updates with emir’s speech in fourth paragraph.)

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Kuwait’s new parliament elected opposition lawmaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun as speaker, 12 years after the politician lost the post to Jassim Al-Kharafi.

Khalid Sultan Al-Essa, an Islamist, was chosen as Al- Saadoun’s deputy in the new legislature’s opening session today. The election of parliament earlier this month is the fourth in less than six years.

Al-Saadoun, 77, took part in an unprecedented campaign of protests last year against the previous cabinet over corruption allegations. Opposition candidates won more than 30 of parliament’s 50 seats in the Feb. 2 election and vowed to push to give the legislature extended power. A new 16-member Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah was sworn in yesterday. Appointed cabinet members become de-facto members of parliament in addition to the 50 elected lawmakers.

The Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in a speech today urged for cooperation between parliament and the cabinet. Repeated clashes between lawmakers and the government over how to share power have led to a series of parliament dissolutions and cabinet resignations in Kuwait, the fourth-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, slowing economic growth and delaying key investment projects.

--With assistance from Dahlia Kholaif in Kuwait. Editors: Inal Ersan, Alan Purkiss

To contact the reporter on this story: Fiona MacDonald in Kuwait at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at

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