New UAE prime minister reshapes Cabinet

The new prime minister of the United Arab Emirates reshaped his Cabinet today, bringing a second woman into the government, creating a new ministry of environment and eliminating the Information Ministry.

The emirates’ president approved the changes, proposed by the prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who took the post on January 5 after the death of his brother, the official news agency WAM reported.

The top ministers – Defence, Interior, Finance, Economy and Energy – all remained the same.

Several ministries were eliminated, including Agriculture, Transport, Information, which were reduced to agencies. Five new ministries were created, including Environment, Culture and Youth.

With the changes, there are eight new faces in the 21-member Cabinet, including a woman, Mariam Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi, who took the newly-created social affairs ministry. She joins Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, who kept her position as economy minister.

It was the seventh cabinet since the UAE was created in 1971, uniting seven Gulf emirates. The president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayn, is the ruler of the largest emirate Abu Dhabi, while the ruler of the emirate of Dubai traditionally holds the posts of prime minister and vice president.

Sheikh Mohammed became Dubai’s ruler after his older brother, Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, died on January 4 aged 62.

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