Public Administration

Finally and after a long struggle, the new government was announced in the middle of last week. In Kuwait, the Council of Ministers is the strongest arm in the formation of the public administration; it is the semi-fixed arm within the wings of that administration. The new Prime Minister is the fifth prime minister in 40 years and the current government is his first government although he has been a main participant in many of the previous governments. As such, he has become the chief executive officer with a heavy burden on the economic level, the political level in a boiling world, and even on the weak financial and human infrastructure levels.

There are some glimpses in the new formation the most important of which is perhaps bypassing the concept of sovereign ministries which are exclusive to the Ruling Family in the country where sovereignty. An ordinary person from the nation was appointed as the Ministry of Interior for the first time. Another credit for the new formation is the reduction of the Ruling Family Ministers to only three young ministers and none of them is the First Deputy Prime Minister. A second glimpse was the appointment of three ladies  as  ministers  based  on  specialty, a trend which consists of what prevails in the world in an attempt to be equitable to women in the State’s leadership positions.

Having said that, an essential criticism for the formation remains that the required change level to deal with the heavy legacy surgically and within a short time before exacerbation of conditions is very far from meeting the requirements of repair and construction. In terms of content, the formation still carries all the characteristics of quotas even if the distribution of quotas differed, and the quota or Lebanonization cannot promote the team’s thinking to the management of the country concept but to tear it apart to the priority for the interest of the faction/category represented by the minister. The evidence is there in both Lebanon and Iraq. With the similar formation of the National Assembly on the same approach, the quota disease will be transmitted to all leadership positions in the state, or hiring through connections and no administration will succeed. Another criticism is the failure to form a team capable of understanding the future requirements in a country facing a real problem in the sustainability of its financial and economic conditions as summed up by Tony Blair’s report by the inevitable collision with a wall or as described by a former USA Ambassador as an imminent actuarial deficit in everything. The team without homogeneity and without a common vision will be preoccupied with a defensive project that is confined to ensuring its continuity instead of turning into an offensive position where it will set the example in its integrity and achievements. We shall witness the defensive positions in the next few weeks. Truly, the term of the current Cabinet is short but it is also the first for the new Prime Minister. The importance of its formation lies in that it provides the first impression about him and lies in its ability to lay the foundation for the forthcoming public administration including the probability of changing the electoral system that strengthened the quotas contents. Any upcoming government under the same conditions will be formed with the same specifications, will be subject to the same pressures, and will not achieve any meaningful achievement.