Bahrain changes 17 in biggest ever cabinet reshuffle

AFP , Tuesday 14 Jun 2022

Gulf monarchy Bahrain has issued a royal decree ordering 17 cabinet changes including a new oil minister in its biggest reshuffle and first for 20 years, officials said.

Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
File photo: Bahrain s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. AFP


The revamp, signed by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, comes ahead of lower-house elections in November and as Bahrain, a financial centre with oil resources and heavy debt, attempts to reposition itself for a post pandemic era.

Oil Minister Mohammed bin Mubarak was among 13 new faces in the cabinet under Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, who was appointed as premier in November 2020.

The 22-strong cabinet also includes four women holding the health, housing and urban planning, sustainable development and tourism portfolios. Its youngest member is 36.

"The reshuffle comes at a pivotal time in the post-Covid economic recovery era," a government source said on Tuesday, adding: "The country is focused on moving into a new phase."

Bahrain's last cabinet reshuffle was in 2002, when 10 new ministers were appointed. The only other cabinet reshuffle was in 1973.

Three of the four deputy prime minister positions were axed in the current reshuffle, leaving Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa as the sole deputy PM.

Bahrain, a member of the OPEC-plus group of oil producers, carried debts standing at 129 percent of GDP last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

But high oil prices and the growth of non-oil GDP should help it carry out economic reforms and work towards balancing the budget, the IMF said last month.

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