Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has reappointed his entire cabinet for another four-year term, surprising many who had been expecting changes.
It was the first time King Abdullah had named a cabinet since ascending the throne in August 2005 after the death of his brother, King Fahd.
"People were hoping for more reformers and more efficient ministers in general. There are a lot of ministers who became ministers because of their personal relations with King Fahd, so society expected there would be reforms," said Abdelaziz al-Qassim, a lawyer.
Rumours had circulated about whether Saud al-Feisal, the veteran foreign minister whose health has been frail, would want to retain his post, but these had died down in recent weeks as the government embarked on a diplomatic campaign and sought to reassert its regional authority, said one diplomat.
There had also been speculation about whether there would be changes in the oil, education, labour and industry ministries.
Education reform is one of the most controversial issues the government has to tackle, pitting reformers against the ultraconservative religious establishment, and is viewed as key to ensuring young Saudis develop the skills to enter the job market and are not lured into radical circles.
The labour ministry has also been unpopular for attempting reforms to reduce Saudi businesses' reliance on cheap foreign labour.
Well, hope is the last thing that dies...
El rey de Arabia Saudí, Abdullah, ha vuelto a nombrar a todo su gobierno, a pesar de las críticas que se venían realizando a los ministro de Trabajo -quería modificar la dependencia de los negocios saudíes de mano de obra barata y extranjera- y del ministro de educación -debido al movimiento "ultraconservador"... debería decir wahabista...-. El nombramiento también ha desilusionado a los reformistas que se esperaban alguna decisión que significara algo de apertura.
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