Finance Minister to become Kuwait's Oil Minister -MP

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KUWAIT, Oct 28 (Reuters) Kuwait's Finance Minister Badr al-Humaidhi is widely expected to be named as the Gulf Arab state's oil minister this week, but some deputies might oppose the appointment, a member of parliament said.

Newspapers said the government was expected to announce a cabinet reshuffle later today, with the finance minister taking 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 in the major OPEC producer needs to fill.

''We heard that the finance minister will become deputy prime minister and oil minister,'' Deputy Musallam al-Barrak of the Popular Bloc told reporters late yesterday.

But Barrak said some deputies would oppose the move as Humaidhi was under fire for alleged failures as finance minister and moving him to another portfolio would raise suspicions that the criticism was warranted.

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

''All options are open,'' Barrak said.

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.

Since then, Sherida al-Moasherji has stepped down as communications minister along with the oil minister and Health Minister Massouma al-Mubarak also quit after a hospital fire in August.

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 SKB RN1345

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